Sound — 10
This is the first blur album in 12 years, and the first as a quartet in 16. I honestly didn't expect it to blow me away like it did. The sound is the classic blur sound, yet you can hear the influence from Damon's solo work. I think that this is a step closer to britpop than anything they have made since 1997, with the lightly distorted guitar and harmonious backing vocals from Graham Coxon. This album sounds very well polished, but not so much that it loses it's edge, which you can hear on lonesome street.
Lyrics — 8
The album was allegedly recorded in 5 days back in 2013 around Hong Kong, then finished off late 2014. The influence of the city area (Hong Kong) does show off, for example the first verse of "Lonesome Street":
"What do you got?
Mass produced in somewhere hot
You'll have to go on the Underground
To get things done here
(And then you have to see)
If you need a yellow duck - service done
This is a place to come to, or, well, it was
I know a hot spot
Crossing on the guillotine"
Or the first verse of "Ong Ong":
"I got on a boat on a hot sunny day
To get out of this town
'Cus the tarmac was melting and the people seemed to sway
Stuck in the underground"
But I might be wrong, that is just my interpretation. Either way the lyrics make an interesting listen to say the least.
Overall Impression — 10
Despite being a long gap between this and their last album, 2003's "Think Tank," the return of Graham Coxon brings a familiar Blur sound that reminds me of "The Great Escape." My favourite songs from the album are: "Lonesome Street," "Go Out," "Ong Ong," "Ice Cream Man," "I Broadcast" and "There Are Too Many of Us."
The whole album makes for an instant classic, it's well written performed and produced, after all it was produced by Stephen Street who also produced: "The Great Escape," "Parklife" and "Modern Life Is Rubbish" as well as albums by The Smiths and the Kaiser Chiefs. I think Street really brought the best out in Blur once again. This album is the perfect mix of spacey ("Ice Cream Man"), melancholy ("My Terracotta Heart") and upbeat ("Ong Ong"). If this album were stolen I would buy it again in a heartbeat.