There’s good news and there’s bad news for Blur fans. Last week, Damon Albarn revealed to the NME that the band have recorded fifteen new songs. Sounds like an album, right? Sadly, wrong. Albarn quickly confirmed that there is no new album coming any time soon. ‘Just because you record fifteen ideas doesn’t mean that you’ve got an album,’ he reasoned. While certainly demo material does not add up to a finished album, fans want to hear that the band are actively exploring their ideas and honing them into a brand-new album as definitive to the present as Parklife was to the 1990s.
Fans will recall that a new Blur album was scheduled as Albarn’s next project after his commitments to his solo album died down. Albarn’s latest statement, however, sounds like the Blur sessions have been put on an indeterminate hiatus. Still, Albarn’s comment that he ‘can’t foresee’ Blur finishing work on a new album ‘in the near future’ is a stark reminder that we haven’t had a new Blur album since 2003’s Think Tank. The tease of a handful of stand-alone tracks only whets our appetite. ‘Fools Day,’ ‘The Puritan,’ and ‘Under The Westway’ (below) were better than anticipated. In the meantime, we will have to settle for playing those gems on repeat while we await the next notch on Albarn’s project list: his forthcoming solo album, Everyday Robots (out April 28).
Albarn spoke with Rolling Stone about the future of his involvement with Blur and Gorillaz. In discussing Blur, his tone sounds more like a wistful goodbye. He says that the band is ‘a big part of my life. I’ll never abandon the spirit of it ever. It’s kind of in me.’ He continues noncommittally, ‘There is material. But I can’t foresee us in the near future being in a position to finish it. We’re just all doing other stuff.’
Gorillaz is a different beast altogether. ‘Apart from the visuals, I am Gorillaz. I am the recording when it comes to Gorillaz.’ He affirms that ‘the only constant thing, I suppose is myself. And I’m still here.’ Albarn says that he has found satisfaction integrating Gorillaz songs into his live repertoire. ‘I’ve been playing Gorillaz songs in rehearsal and some of them sound really fresh, so I’ll definitely be playing them on my tour.’