Blur

The Magic Whip (Warner Bros. / Parlophone)

Phases & Stages

Best to worst, Parklife and Think Tank, Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, and Dave Rowntree did with Britpop what the Clash managed in punk: replaced its original blueprint with their own. Seventh album since shoe-glazed debut Leisure (1991) and first since kitchen sink Think Tank (2003), Hong Kong-hatched The Magic Whip opens where it all began: dance mulch. Opener "Lonesome Street" preens the avant-garde melodicism of the occasionally estranged London quartet's 13 – its Bowie in Berlin moment – but then "New World Towers" encases an old-school Albarn backpack vocal, fibrous as nylon and muffled in melancholic lo-fi mode. At the LP's best, "Go Out" pops "Song 2" distortion atop a Gorillaz-like industrial anime, and the Atari rock of "I Broadcast" updates the oneupmanship UK bash of the Nineties to Hong Kong 2115. As with 13 and Think Tank, noodling ensues ("Thought I Was a Spaceman") and melodies never dry fully ("My Terracotta Heart"), but that works both ways when "There Are Too Many of Us" marches into deep-cut territory through space and strings. And when pub drunk "Ong Ong" approximates a dashed-off co-write between John Lennon and Ray Davies, Magic Whip raises a pint to Blur.
***

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Blur
Boxing Day
Blur
Complete catalogs trump career overviews

Raoul Hernandez, Dec. 14, 2012

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Bright Light Social Hour
Jude Vol. 1 (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 8, 2019

Texas Platters
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
The Whole Shebang (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Feb. 8, 2019

More by Raoul Hernandez
Extreme Metal All-Stars Vltimas Debut “Monolilith”
Extreme Metal All-Stars Vltimas Debut “Monolilith”
Ex-Morbid Angel singer David Vincent hosted local LP sessions

Feb. 28, 2019

Crypt Trip Falls on “Hard Times” With New Single
Crypt Trip Falls on “Hard Times” With New Single
San Marcos classic rockers tease Haze County with audio premiere

Feb. 25, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Blur

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle