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BLUR

Blur
Blur
Blur

The Magic Whip

The Magic Whip is Blur’s surprise reunion record – the biggest surprise of which is how effortlessly it maintains the band’s essence while pushing its sound into uncharted territory.
With a few exceptions – the playful Ong Ong, the 1994 timewarp Lonesome Street – the album is a moody affair, capturing the bristling tension of later Blur albums. But instead of being directed within the band, it’s at the world at large. New World Towers, My Terracotta Heart, Pyongyang; these are all songs searching for something but not really knowing where to look.
There are a number of reference points from Blur and Damon Albarn’s career to give you an idea of what sounds they’re mining: a relaxed 13, Think Tank with good arrangements, Everyday Robots fleshed out. Really, none do it justice – The Magic Whip is a new phase. No more is this evident than on album highlight, Thought I Was A Spaceman, a sprawling, ever-evolving track that takes cues from Blur’s last few albums (Albarn and Graham Coxon trading verses, a heavy reliance on ambience) and brings them into new areas of dream-pop and neo-psychedelia.
There are a few things that lifelong fans will nitpick over – Coxon’s otherworldly guitar is underutilised, and knees-up Parklife diehards might have a hard time – but overall this is one of the best bands of its generation adding an essential chapter to its storied career.

4.5 stars
LEONARDO SILVESTRINI

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