Everyday Robots shows yet another one of Damon Albarn’s artistic personalities.
Either by design or strange coincidence, the debut solo album from Albarn (not counting 2012’s Dr Dee theatrical soundtrack album) is being released in the same week in which his first major artistic statement, Blur’s Parklife, is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Through a series of reinventions in the last two decades both with and without Blur, Albarn has proved himself as much more than just the ego-driven Mockney pretty boy sexing the camera with his eyes in the Girls & Boys video.
While it’s by no means a sequel, the worlds of Everyday Robots and Parklife are not a million miles apart. The themes of alienation and cultural and technological change that permeated through that 1994 release return through worldlier, more mature eyes on songs such as Lonely Press Play, Photographs (You Are Taking Now) and the title track.
Albarn’s voice has a warm, melancholic lethargy that lends itself beautifully to the introverted feeling that seeps through the whole album but particularly on the haunting Hollow Ponds, as well as The Selfish Giant and You And Me.
Most of his contemporaries could only dream of making a work so strong this far into their career.