Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

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Graham Coxon: In the Morning
Graham Coxon: The Spinning Top (Transgressive)

Damon Albarn has had the more visible profile outside of Blur -- Gorillaz, his Mali Music album, The Good, The Bad and The Queen -- but for the band’s former guitarist Coxon (who left after Think Tank of 03) The Spinning Top is his seventh solo outing and extends his interest in Anglofolk of the Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson kind.

To Blur, Coxon brought US indie-rock influences but here he is almost exclusively on acoustic guitars and weaving in influences of the late Davy Graham (the Indian musicians on the pop-hypnotic In the Morning) as much as indulging in some pastoral, finger-picking folk with a small ensemble which includes Robyn Hitchcock and bassist Danny Thompson.

It isn’t all low-lights folk: the psychedelic If You Want Me stutters to life over a churning electric fuzz in a mood change worthy of Syd Barrett; Dead Bees is close to brittle Blur-rock; and Caspian Sea is plastered with wah-wah.

There is a story here: the life of a man from birth, through carefree happiness (the ballad Perfect Love with weird sound effects), losses and on to death.

If that sounds weighty, the music mostly redeems it with the light touches and quirkiness (strange guitar effects, flutes, harmonica), although Coxon’s often thin vocals can be an acquired taste.

If rock’n’roll Blur were your thing there’s probably little for you, but if adventurous Anglofolk means anything then this is daring stuff.


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