Review: The Magic Whip by Blur

The Magic Whip by BlurFrankly, it’s like they were never gone. But then again, they weren’t. While it’s been over a decade since Blur released their last album, the ethereal Out of Time, its members have been quite prolific, particularly Damon Albarn, who’s had so much on his plate it’s hard to find a place to start. The interesting thing about The Magic Whip, though, is how effortless it feels, how easily the four-piece slipped into their usual ways – and that, considering that the record was hatched after being stranded in Hong Kong for five days due to a festival cancellation in Japan. Of course, the end result isn’t the Blur of old – they’ve been moving away from the overtly Britpop sound for decades, anyway – nor is it an attempt to rehash old glories, like what Suede’s Bloodsport feels like at times. Instead, The Magic Whip is playful, thoughful and very much inspired, with sojourns into psychedelic and space-y territory punctuated by more accessible fare. So, yes, a new album from Blur is a big deal. But at the same time, it shouldn’t be, because, really, they’ve been at it for so long, it doesn’t feel like a break anymore. [NB] | 4/5

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