Thursday, 26 March 2015

Blur - Think Tank (2003)

I never really understood that whole Blur versus Oasis thing. It seemed sort of akin to Roxy Music versus Showaddywaddy, or the Sex Pistols versus Racey, or even Cab Calloway versus the 1972 US presidential campaign; I mean did Oasis even really count as a band by the same terms? There was at one point this peculiar idea of Oasis being somehow more real, more authentic and therefore soulful by virtue of working class roots in comparison to Blur being all fancy and thinking they're lush and better than everyone else with their fancy foreign hats and weird Vesta curries, which in turn translates to thick and a bit shirty as a signifier of the genuinely working class, which is actually more of a middle or upper class characterisation, the incorrect assumption that working class equates to a bit dim.

Anyway, I always liked Blur, so I nabbed this when I saw it in a box of CDs someone had chucked out and left on a wall in Landells Road. I hadn't really kept up with the band, having been a little put off by the Gorillaz whom I always hated, as I tend to hate anything involving Jamie Hewlett.

Graham Coxon wasn't on this one due to having become quite fond of the pints or something along those lines, which is a shame, as it does sort of sound like something was missing from the formula, and that the something was probably himself. Think Tank is eclectic and experimental, although Blur were always keen to try out new things, but as a whole it has ended up sounding like an album of all the embellishments and electro-acoustic hundreds and thousands one might sprinkle over a track to give it that special flavour, lacking only the actual songs which were presumably still in a carrier bag on the kitchen table. It has the dynamic of Beck's Mellow Gold without taking off in quite the same way because it doesn't really find its identity, and in places it feels oddly forced and what with all the self-conscious glitchy laptop bollocks, you half expect it to break out into drum and bass; and the involvement of Banksy additionally casts a certain aroma of Nathan Barley over the proceedings.

Despite this, Think Tank makes for fine listening in terms of affording an appreciation of the patently considerable talents of those involved, but it is surely as significant that I've played the fucker three times today and I still can't remember the first thing about any of it. It's better than Oasis, but then so are every other group who ever entered a recording studio with the possible exception of the Electric Light Orchestra. Blur are apparently back together and have a new one out soon. I just hope this back together encompasses Graham Coxon and that he brings a few tunes with him.

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