Blur have announced that they will release ‘The Magic Whip’, their first album in 12 years, on April 27. Hear new song ‘Go Out’ now.
The band – Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James and Dave Rowntree – made the announcement at press conference hosted by outgoing BBC Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe at Chinese restaurant The Golden Phoenix in London’s West End.
The album’s producer, Stephen Street, also attended. The artwork for the album can be seen above.
However, in an interview published by NME in July 2014, Damon Albarn said that because he likes to work in shorter, more concentrated periods of time he feared that he would never return to the tracks the band made while in Asia.
Speaking about what happened between making the album in 2013 and today, Albarn explained that while he was touring and promoting his solo album ‘Everyday Robots’ last year, he was approached by Graham Coxon with a view to going over the recordings and seeing if anything could be salvaged.
“It was something we did off our own backs,” Coxon explained. “It was quite an overwhelming project. There was jamming and sonic landscaping. I said, ‘Damon, can I have a little chat? I said, ‘Do you mind if I have a look at this music and see if there’s anything worth pursuing. Id compare it to someone’s notes, scrawling all over the page. We slung it over to Stephen [Street] and he looked through bits of it.”
Speaking about specific songs on the album, Albarn singled out ‘Pyongyang’ as being a favourite of his. The song was written from lyrics he wrote while visiting North Korea. “I wrote loads and loads and this gave me an opportunity to use that material. I was nervous because I haven’t sung anything with Stephen [Street] since [Blur song] ‘Beetlebum’.”
Bass player Alex James went as far as to say that the new songs “feel like the best stuff we’ve ever done” while Albarn impressed the importance of Hong Kong on the making of the album. “It sounds like an album recorded in Hong Kong. I’ve recorded in a lot of places and every one has a spirit about it.” The frontman drew comparisons to David Bowie’s Berlin period, saying: “It’s very much an urban record.”
‘The Magic Whip’ tracklisting is as follows:
‘New World Towers’
‘Ice Cream Man’
‘Thought I Was A Spaceman’
‘My Terracotta Heart’
‘There Are Too Many Of Us’
Blur’s last album was 2003’s ‘Think Tank’.