The Great Escape

Blur's musical diaspora: Beyond the waterloo sunset, Africa!

Think of it as a Sandinista of the self: Damon using Other music to shine a little love-light on his own "darkened soul"--beneath the dub, the glitch, the North African hand-drums, ramble-tamble Ali Farka Toure-style guitars, and misty Malian under-grooves, you get the same ol' silly club songs ("Brothers and Sisters") and punk-rock cheese-puffs (the minute-long Oi sendup "We've Got A File On You") of his misspent mid-'90s. You remember, back when the tunes came easy and Justine Frischmann was still a superhero. I don't blame him a bit for the indulgence. In his mossy interiority, he makes the geopolitical personal and does what we all really want to do when Aaron Brown gets you down: turn off the telly and drift away on memory bliss--a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, a second-hand sampler, and thou.

"TV's dead and there ain't no war in my head/You look very beautiful to me," he sings against "Good Song"'s sky-blue guitars and wooly trip-hop. Damon Albarn does not have much to say about the world except that he'd like it to stick around a little longer and you to stick around with it. It's no small dream.

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