New Reels: “Heavy Seas of Love” by Damon Albarn

Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most important albums of the 90’s, the one that alongside the first two Oasis records epitomized the whole Britpop era, and that record is Parklife by Blur.

When people talk about great British songwriters it’s very often the case that the same familiar names – Lennon & McCartney, Ray Davies, David Bowie, Paul Weller etc – come up time and time again. For my liking Damon Albarn’s name isn’t mentioned nearly often enough in the same breath which is a shame because it’s hard to think of a better songwriter from these waters in the last 20 years, or for that matter one capable of operating in a more diverse range of styles and settings. When compared to his great contemporary (and friend these days it seems) Noel Gallagher he has a far more interesting back catalogue which shows a much greater will to experiment and challenge both himself and his audience. I think Albarn is a bit of a genius actually, and so it’s great to see he has gotten round to releasing his first proper solo album. About time Damon!

Taken from the album – Everyday Robots – is this wonderful single featuring guest vocals from another British musical genius, Brian Eno and a video composed of clips Damon filmed on his iPad during his travels over the last year. Two things: firstly it’s an incredibly cheap way to make a video, and also one of the things that is so wonderful about modern computer technology; secondly, it seems Damon really gets around! I’m jealous! As for the song itself, it’s a wonderful example of the kind of hook-y tune that he seems to write so effortlessly. It’s not amongst his best, but it’s still better than most artists manage and a hundred times more interesting than anything from Noel Gallagher’s first solo record…

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