Blur - Think Tank

Compared to the brash pop of Damon Albarn's Gorillaz side project and 1999's overtly emotional 13, Think Tank is a soulful and subtle affair—its tone possibly traceable to the departure of founding member Graham Coxon midway through its recording. There are classic Blur rock moments here, notably "Crazy Beat," which is cut from the same cloth as the classic "Song 2," and the painfully short but brilliant "We've Got a File On You," which sounds like agitprop punks Crass mixed up with a Moroccan snake charmer. But while Albarn still has an ear for a melody, without Coxon's guitars to subvert them, most of these songs sound like the work of a new band. "Caravan"'s sleepy rhythm plods at a camel's pace, while "Gene by Gene" employs cross rhythms to evoke desert images. Blur is now more about textures rather than standard rock rhythms. Some will find their evolution off-putting, but for fans who appreciate a band that refuses to sit still, Think Tank is a rewarding listen.

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