Blur will play a brand new song during their headlining slot at the Olympic Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert in London later this year – but will not be recording a new album, bassist Alex James has confirmed.
On August 12, the reunited Britpop band will return to Hyde Park, the scene of three of their reunion shows of 2009, for a gig which will also feature The Specials and New Order.
Speaking about their plans to include a new song in the setlist on tonight’s (March 4) episode of Top Gear, James said that the unnamed track was “like a hymn, a real tear-jerker”.
He told host Jeremy Clarkson:
We’ve got a new song to unveil, I just listened to it this morning.
It was unclear whether James was referring to ‘Under The Westway’ – which frontman Damon Albarn and guitarist Graham Coxon played during a two-song set at a pre-Brits charity gig for War Child at O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire in London last month – or another new song.
When later asked by Clarkson whether there’s a new album on the horizon, James responded: “No, there’s not.”
The bassist also spoke about Blur’s five-song set at the Brit Awards 12 days ago (February 21), where they picked up the Outstanding Contribution To Music award, commenting: “It was utterly magnificent to get back together and smash those songs out again.”
Speaking to NME recently, Blur confirmed they had been working on new material since reuniting, but were cagey about whether they’d record a new album, which would be their first since 2003’s ‘Think Tank’.
Pressed on whether any of their new songs would make the Hyde Park set, Coxon said he’d be “interested in playing new things” during the gig, adding: “We always used to play underdeveloped things and kick them into shape during the shows, but it isn’t the occasion for that. Obviously we’re not gonna play the same set we played in 2009, but there things that people always, always wanna hear.”
Earlier this year, producer William Orbit hinted he was working on new material with Blur in a series of tweets, while Stephen Street, who helmed a number of the band’s albums in the mid-to-late-’90s, has also expressed an interest in recording with them again.
Along with playing at Hyde Park, Blur are also scheduled to headline Sweden’s Way Out West festival in August.
To watch an exclusive NME video interview with Coxon, where he speaks about the band’s preparations for their huge Hyde Park gig, scroll down and click below.