Following a cancelled gig in Japan, Blur, one of Britain’s most cherished acts of the last two decades, decided to go into studio and record some fresh material. Not long after this, Damon Albarn proudly announced the band’s plans to their Hong Kong audience in May of 2013. This moment sparked the fire that led to Albarn being suffocated with numerous questions regarding a new Blur record, all to which he ambiguously replied. During 2014, not much was said in respect to Blur’s fate, mainly because it seemed the singer, who was now promoting his first solo venture Everyday Robots, had other plans, including a tentative new Gorillaz project. The most Albarn said of a new Blur record was that it was uncertain, explaining that although they had recorded 15 songs, they might just never be heard. It seemed as though by now, all doubts surrounding the band’s future plans had been answered, and it was highly unlikely for it to happen.
On February 19th, Blur announced their new record, titled The Magic Whip, through a press conference with Zane Lowe, startling both their fans and the media. The announcement took place at a Chinese restaurant in London, for the album is inspired by their time in Hong Kong. The first taste of the record is titled Go Out; although it feels strikingly familiar, it is an exciting preview into its content. The Magic Whip was produced by Stephen Street, who worked with the band on their first five albums. It will be their first since 2003’s Think Tank, and the first with guitarist Graham Coxon since 1999’s 13.
The track’s steady rhythm, static guitar riffing, and hypnotic backing vocals shape it into one of the band’s more minimalist and intriguing efforts. Albarn, as a songwriter, has embraced this stylistic approach since the days of 13. Sonically, it vaguely alludes to some of the sounds heard on Blur and 13, which feature some of their most experimental endeavors. Fans of the band’s most obscure and explorative moments such as Death of a Party or Trimm Trabb, will warmly embrace this new Blur number. Celebrating the band’s most creative period, without feeling repetitive or obsessively wistful, Go Out is pleasantly surprising.
Blur’s eighth studio record, titled The Magic Whip, will be released on April 27th.