fri 26/05/2017

CD: Graham Coxon – A+E | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Graham Coxon – A+E

CD: Graham Coxon – A+E

Blur guitarist puts in his application to join the Itchy and Scratchy Show

It will certainly appeal to anyone who enjoyed the hectic, raucous rock-pop aspect of Blur
A right old Coxon Knees Up: Partying like it's 1994

Not sure about the title. Is it inspired by the place Graham Coxon used to finish up in each night during his drinking years? Not sure about the cover. Who wants to see a scabby knee? But there are no quibbles about the music. While Damon Albarn continues to scour the global undergrowth for inspiration like a musicological David Bellamy, Graham Coxon goes back to scratchy alt-punk, lobbing in some alto sax jazz noodling for good measure.

Things kick off briskly, with the itchy "Advice" reflecting on boredom past: ”I wrote a new song while I was touring/ Man it was no fun, totally boring”. There is no tedium on this album though. Each rapid-fire track is a mini-masterpiece. The high point is "Meet + Drink + Pollinate", a wry assessment of brutish British binge culture which starts with a rumbling one-fingered Joy Division bassline and climaxes in the aforementioned jazzy wig-out, turning what could have been "Girls & Boys" revisited into a deliciously alien beauty.

Elsewhere "City Hall" blends hooky American new wave and Teutonic electronics before the angular Gang of Four riffing of the current single "What'll It Take" gets utterly under your skin. "Running for Your Life" sounds like Coxon is having a pop at the old Albarn/Gallagher North v South pseudo-feud with the faux-menacing chorus: "Get back down the M1 'cos we don't like you".

The stripy-shirted strummer has released eight, yes, eight solo albums and A+E may just be the best since his first, 1998's The Sky is Too High. It will certainly appeal to anyone who enjoyed the hectic, raucous rock-pop aspect of Blur's 13. It is fresh, feisty and funny, with Coxon’s estuary English giving Damon Albarn a run for his mockney money. Maybe the title stands for Artistry plus Excellence.

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Watch Graham Coxon perform "Freakin' Out"

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