Artist – Album: Blur – Think Tank
Released: 5th May 2003
Sounds Like: The ‘Girls & Boys’ boys become men
Of the two bands most readily associated with Britpop – Oasis and Blur – one spent the decade after its death continuing to create the same laddish boozy anthems, with arguably diminishing returns, and the other was Blur. Following their huge success with Parklife and the Great Escape, the band decided to take something of an abrupt turn into lo-fi influenced alternative rock on their sixth studio album Blur, presaging the end of the mid nineties Britpop era.
On their seventh album the group took another u-turn, moving away from the Pavement sphere of influence onto more of a Radiohead orientated sound. For the first time they introduced electronic beats and elements of trip hop to the alternative rock mix, and the result is, for the most part, a pleasantly interesting and rewarding album. A selection of the opening cuts, ‘Ambulance’, ‘Out of Time’ (worth the admission price alone) and ‘Good Song’ stand up next to anything in the extensive back catalogue – lush, gorgeous and poignant songs that are further enhanced by Damon Albarn’s world-weary vocals.
Unfortunately, the song in between – ‘Crazy Beat’ – is a bit of a stinker. It introduces a vocoder style chorus in the style of Daft Punk, with none of that collective’s warmth and charm. This track is indicitive of the (rare and relative) failures that prevent this album from becoming on a par with the best early indie forays into electronica such as Kid A and Music Has the Right to Children. Being a step or two behind those two though really isn’t so bad and it’s quite an achievement for the group that not long before were releasing Cool Britannia fluff like ‘Country House’.
Albumaday... rating: 7/10
1. Ambulance – 5:09
2. Out of Time – 3:52
3. Crazy Beat – 3:15
4. Good Song – 3:09
5. On the Way to the Club – 3:48
6. Brothers and Sisters – 3:47
7. Caravan – 4:36
8. We’ve Got a File on You – 1:03
9. Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Club -3:03
10. Sweet Song – 4:01
11. Jets – 6:25
12. Gene by Gene – 3:49
13. Battery in Your Leg – 3:20
Listen to ‘Out of Time’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRkX1Up1vnc