The legend narrates that, while in Hong Kong, Blur had 5 days to spare, due to a gig in a festival that got cancelled, so instead of taking a holiday they locked themselves in a studio for a jam session.
The result: a new album, the first in 12 years.
What a good way to spend your spare time.
Although 'The Magic Whip' comes after a very long time, it sounds quite fresh for a reunion album. While surfing the classic Blur wave of 90's brit pop it also shows elements of growth and re invention.
Damon Albarn's vocals sounds less irreverent and Graham Coxon guitar is more orchestrated and atmospheric, yet Blur's new album is still catchy and powerful, only in a different, musically more mature way.
'The Magic Whip' has a bit of everything, from slow ballads (My Terracotta Heart, Ghost Ship) to snappy tunes (Go Out, I Broadcast), many more electronic sounds than the previous albums blended in most of the tracks, influences from the band members' solo projects.
The lack of a smashing hit, like 'Charmless Man' in 'The Great Escape' (1995) and 'Song 2' in 'Blur' (1997), is inevitable but maybe this not the point of this album.
The Magic Whip is a solid piece altogether, actual and well developed, perhaps a very good way to end Blur's long journey.
The London brewed band is about to start a world tour that will tap in UK twice in June: 13th at the Isle Of White Festival and 20th in London for the British Summer Time in Hyde Park. Europe, China and Australia to follow.