Album Review

The Magic Whip

The Magic Whip

by Blur

Warner Bros
9 / 10
22nd May 2015

Reviewed by Rebecca White

The 90s indie dream team Blur are back together after a whopping 12 year hiatus, and they haven’t turned to shit! Commonly known for their Brit-pop contributions, they eventually parted ways in 2003. Reforming for some gigs from 2009, The Magic Whip is the first recording from that reunion. A tricky thing; being a band famous for a certain and particularly youthful sound, then to produce music over 20 years later that doesn’t sound dated, but any Blur fan worth their salt knows they always had depth and variance well beyond the hits.

Keeping with familiar Blur themes of life, love lost and found and, well, general melancholy, The Magic Whip blends sounds from their other albums with a seamless maturity worthy of such astute musicians. Albarn and Coxon have a sort of Paul and John vibe, in as much that Albarn has poppier leanings and Coxon more of the shoegaze-awkward-guy approach; their respective non-Blur albums reflect that, but together the mix of musical sensibilities creates songs with both listenability and complexity. Their 90s producer Stephen Street also returns to this album and lends his expert touch, giving the songs his timeless aesthetic.

Single ‘Go Out’ is one of the most commercial of the lot, but whilst it is catchy, it keeps the air of wistful, beautiful sadness the runs through the entire album. With tracks like ‘Lonesome Street’ and ‘There Are Too Many Of Us’ the themes of social commentary are as strong they were back in the Modern Life Is Rubbish days but it feels less blatant - not as cynical or angry as it was 20 years ago - and more yielding to the wretchedness that is this even more modern life. Blur recapture their skill in making the seemingly mundane humdrum of life touching and beautiful.

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