Album Review: Damon Albarn - 'Everyday Robots'

10 June 2014 | 11:29 am | Staff Writer

Albarn strips down and gets personal.

By now, most people are in some way aware of Damon Albarn, best known as the frontman of Blur and Gorillaz, and his musical tendencies. They are broad, to say the least, which is why his debut solo album, 'Everyday Robots,' should be expected to also be quite diverse in nature.

That being said, placing the album in the middle of the two projects listed earlier is the easiest way to sum up its sound. The opening and title track in which Albarn takes a stab at the zombie like lives we lead attached to small screens features Gorillaz style production, especially in the beat, but it is followed up by the wispy 'Hostiles', which could sit nicely in amongst some of Blur's later material.

'Mr Tembo' is a bright and bubbly number that sounds like it has been pulled from the Curious George soundtrack and is a little too child friendly to fit the feel of the record. This is brought back into line by the smoky jazz song, 'The Selfish Giant', which features some smooth melody lines and a groove heavy rhythm section.

Albarn stated that he was looking to make "empty club music" and that pretty much captures the feel of the majority of this record. It leans towards minimalist electronica at times, helped along by additional instrumentation supplied by Brian Eno on tracks like the beat and synth driven 'You And Me'.

Producer Richard Russell, who handled all of the drum programming on the album, can be held a little more responsible for its stripped back approach leaving Albarn to focus more so on his lyrics than usual. The overrunning theme of man vs. machine is juxtaposed with glimpses into Albarn's childhood and the area in which he grew up.

The album highlight however is saved for the end, 'Heavy Seas of Love', another Brian Eno collaboration, which is a soulful piano ballad with an instant hook and an energetic and uplifting beat.

'Everyday Robots' sees Damon Albarn flexing his experimental muscles from a genre perspective and succeeds as one of his finest releases across his many projects. The stripped back approach lets the song-writing shine but the overall winner is the album's production, which is simply perfect.

1. Everyday Robots

2. Hostiles

3. Lonely Press Play

4. Mr Tembo

5. Parakeet

6. The Selfish Giant

7. You and Me

8. Hollow Ponds

9. Seven high

10. Photographs (You are Taking Now)

11. The History of A Cheating Heart

12. Heavy Seas of Love

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