Blur, 'The Puritan'

One of two new tracks unveiled via live stream

Dean Chalkley/NME
Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME
After the whiter shade of melancholy that was 'Under The Westway', the full hour Blur fans waited last night to hear 'The Puritan' was pretty much worth it. Initially jarring, with beats pulled straight out of a cracker, it soon unveils a "happy sad" – just one of many meta-lyrics – melody and the kind of ludicrous clowning bounce that Blur have always managed alongside the more world-weary stuff.

While 'Under The Westway' is ostensibly more trad, 'The Puritan' pulls together the greatest titbits from the Blur catalogue, and finds room for traces of Gorillaz and all the other malarkey Damon Albarn's turned his magpie mind to. So it's bumped along by the kind of plastic electronic parp you could snap up on Freecycle, echoing Gorillaz' 'Doncamatic' in its cheap-as-chips bop, and wigging out to a 'chorus' of frenzied fuzz-bass that'd slot nicely into the more annoying nooks of 'Think Tank'.

All over it feels like one of Damon's 'Democrazy' cuts with a proper producer on board but soon dissolves into classic Blur "La la la"s. Maybe they took a leaf out of David Bowie's lyric-writing book and cut up their entire shared history, picking up bits at random until they thought, "Well, this is almost a song".

"Hey puritan! What you gonna do about it? It's all smoke and mirrors". Whether 'The Puritan' is a celebration of following the herd or a wry shrug of resignation is moot. Sounds like nothing can be done. Just waltz on that "amazing pulse in a pornographic sea". Right.
Words: Matthew Horton

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