The Magic Whip
Label: Parlophone UK
Where Damon Albarn's solo record Everyday Robots was gentle and thoughtful, his band's first album since 2003's blurry, melancholy Think Tank is full of the warm pop-rock clatter of Blur's '90s Britpop magnum opus The Great Escape. "Lonesome Street" and "Go Out" blend punchy, Kinksy chamber pop with the occasional electronic burble. Guitarist Graham Coxon, always Blur's MVP, makes his much-welcomed return to recording with the band, granting the songs mood and color even if Albarn's melodies are less urgent here than they've ever been.