blur are back with their first record in eight years with The Ballad of Darren. Alt legend Damon Albarn has reunited with the rest of the group that proved to be one of the most popular groups from the UK in the 90's and early 2000's. Ever since the album was announced I was interested to see how Albarn and company would perform after being apart so long. The answer in short, they fit like a glove.
"St. Charles Square" represents a weird rock tune that blends together fantastic backing melodies with Albarn's signature vocals as the cherry on top. The guitars are absolutely rocking in this one. On "The Everglades", blur slow it down and bring a certain sentimentality to the track that you don't often find in music today. Albarn's vocals are perfect for this track, he's not aggressive, he just floats above the plucked melody. One of our favorites on the album was "Far Away Island" which has a certain Bowie-esque feel to it. We highly recommend it.
What's clear is that Damon Albarn has cemented himself as one of alt music's greatest songwriters having lead not one but two groups to superstardom (the other being Gorillaz). At this point he's just showing off his flexibility by coming back to blur and showing that they still have it. There's a certain crop of songwriters in alternative music today and then there's just everyone else. Damon Albarn is clearly in the cream of the crop. This album should not be missed for any reason.
Rating - 5/5