Monday, January 22, 2007

Stroppy Little Island Of Mixed Up People

Tomorrow sees the US release of the new album from Damon Albarn's supergroup The Good, The Bad & The Queen. I am a huge fan of Damon - love Blur, love the Gorillaz, love the Mali Music project, and I even enjoy Democrazy. I have yet to come across anything I haven't liked by the man and his various bands. This latest is no exception. The line-up; former Clash bassist Paul Simenon, drummer extraordinaire Tony Allen, former Verve guitarist Simon Tong, Damon on vocals and keys, and producer Danger Mouse. The album is a moody, melancholic look at the state of the world and the UK today. It features a lot of lyrics referencing the war in Iraq and and the state of the environment. This shit is right up my alley. And also going to confuse people looking for something closer to Gorillaz. I've played the advance copy that I got in the mail this morning three times already, and I like it. It is mostly downtempo and often gloomy which is going to turn some people off - it doesn't bother me. There is also that unmistakable British-ness about it all, present in almost all of Damon's music. This record is steeped in the neighborhood where it was born, the Portobello Road area of West London, which is home to a diverse, multi-cultural stew. This really comes through in the fat dub bass lines and the skittery Afro pop beats. Three Changes features the lyric that titled this post, and is one of the more uptempo tunes. Anchored around a shuffling beat and twangy riffs, it also features some nice, fuzzed out guitar and spacey synths. Green Fields is a spaced out sort of ballad, mostly strummed guitars and Damon's carnival key riffs - "I wrote this song...years ago...before the war and the tidal wave". Highly recommended, this is going to get played a lot in the next few weeks!

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