Blur - Think Tank - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Blur - Think Tank

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2003-05-05

Think Tank was an emotional experience for Blur, with reports of problems--not least the exit of founding member Graham Coxon half way through recording. With that in mind you might expect the end product to be a mess. In the event, although Think Tank, like its predecessor, is a hotchpotch of ideas, it is a cohesive album.

After the brash pop of Damon Albarn's Gorillaz side-project and the overtly emotional 13, this is a soulful and subtle affair. There are a couple of classic Blur rock moments here: "Crazy Beat" is cut from the same cloth as the pogo-ing classic "Song 2", while the painfully short but brilliant "We've Got a File on You" sounds like agitprop punkers Crass in a fight with a Moroccan snake charmer.

But while Damon Albarn still has an ear for a melody, Blur sound like a different band without Coxon's guitars to subvert them. Morocco and Damon's Mali Music have changed Blur. "Caravan" uses a sleepy rhythm that plods at a camel's pace, while "Gene by Gene" employs cross rhythms evoking images of the desert and sound textures from unorthodox sources. Blur are now using sounds to create their music rather than the standard rock line up. For some fans it may be one evolution too far, but for fans who appreciate them as they are--a band that refuses to stay still--Think Tank should be an interesting listen. --Caroline Butler

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