A couple of months ago, I was on Facebook (for work purposes), and saw an update from Blur, about a special announcement, along with a countdown clock that I watched, transfixed, until the band came on screen (with Zane Lowe, bizarrely). They firstly confirmed a Hyde Park gig (excellent), before announcing their new album. Their first studio album since 2003. Mega exciting news.
The album is called 'The Magic Whip', and you might have seen the great neon light album cover posters on the tube, inspired by Hong Kong, where the band came together in the studio to throw ideas around. After just a couple of listens, some of the tracks already feel like the old Blur, particularly their singles 'Go Out' and'Lonesome Street' (the video for this features some excellent dance moves which I'm looking forward to trying out), as well as 'My Terracotta Heart' which they performed on Jools Holland earlier this month. 'The Magic Whip' also has elements of Damon Albarn's recent 'Everyday Robots' album about it, particularly 'Ghost Ship', which reminded me a lot of the rhythm of 'Mr Tembo', except probably not about a baby elephant this time.
As a huge Blur fan, I was always going to love whatever they put their name to, but the album has already got some really strong reviews including from The Guardian and Drowned in Sound, so it's not just me.
The Magic Whip is out Monday 27th April, and it's been up on iTunes this week to stream and pre-order, which I recommend you do (obviously). They're also headlining at British Summer Time in Hyde Park on Saturday 20th June, and have a few other confirmed dates on their website here. The few singles they released in recent years (Fool's Day, The Puritan and Under the Westway) were really well received in their live shows that I've been to, so I can only imagine we'll be hearing a lot of the 'woo woo's' and chorus singing from 'The Magic Whip' when they tour later this year.