As if news of Gorillaz return in 2016 wasn’t enough already. Yesterday, Blur announced their first new album as four-piece in 16 years. Should the rumoured The Good, the Bad & the Queen follow-up somehow be in the mix, I’ll be doing back flips down the street. Blur’s new album, titled The Magic Whip, started from jam sessions in the “claustrophobic and hot” confides of a Hong Kong studio, following a cancelled show in Japan. Guitarist Graham Coxon and long-time Blur producer Stephen Street developed these sessions until, as drummer Dave Rowntree put it, “we all realised we’d done something quite special there”.
The Magic Whip is said to have been influenced by the band’s surroundings in Hong Kong. (The album title may have something to do with China’s long history of frozen mixtures. Gotta love Albarn and co’s fascination with food–related music videos.) Other reflections on the Far East are also promised with the track ‘Ong Ong’ inspired by frontman Damon Albarn’s thoughts on North Korea. But if ‘Go Out’, the first track to be released, is anything to go by, Blur has once again poured their experience of far off shores into strangely alluring guitar chords and colloquialisms that cross cultures. There’s an almost satisfied melancholy to the characters Albarn sings about who are off to their “lo-o-o-o-ocal” alone to drown their sorrows or perhaps just ponder their tomorrows. Experimental, but still memorable, it could almost be a continuation of the Think Tank sessions. The album is set for April and the band play Hype Park for the fourth time this summer. Now to see how many ice cream and ice-cream vendor references we can decorate before the album drops.
Go Out appears on The Magic Whip, out April 27, 2015 on Parlophone Records.
Image: British Summer Time/Blur