Graham Coxon - A + E - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Graham Coxon - A + E

by Lawrence Poole Rating:7 Release Date:2012-04-02

For a man whose first two names are 'Graham' and 'Leslie' - more suited to the painter and decoraters of this world, rather than a bona fide rock star - Mr Coxon remains effortlessly cool, and easily the most loved and cherished member of Britpop veterans Blur.

A + E is incredibly the 43-year-old's eighth solo LP. Produced by Ben Hillier who Coxon worked with briefly on Blur's Think Tank album, it sees the guitarist return to his favoured lo-fi flavours following the folksy departure of his last release, The Spinning Top. It comes hot on the heels of Blur's Lifetime Achievement award at the Brits and couldn't be any less glitzy and showbiz than that annual industry shindig.

Opener 'Advice' kicks things off in suitably scuzzy and staccato fashion, sounding familiar yet fresh like a favourite pair of Converse trainers. 'City Hall' continues along the same theme, with Coxon's estuary vocals echoing over the top of a crunching guitar riff. Single 'What'll It Take' is easily the most commercial track on the album even though harks back to Blur's first dabblings with lo-fi production in the late 1990s - it whizzes out the stereo and doesn't let go.

Despite a cracking title, 'Meet+Drink+Pollinate' sparks a downturn in quality. It sounds lazy and tired while 'The Truth' is bogged down in an overbearing wave of crunching guitars. Things take an upturn with the quirky 'Running for Your Life' while closer 'Oh, Yeh Yeh' is a lovely ode to The Beatles at their psychelic best.
A worthwhile return, then... Roll on Hyde Park and the Olympics.

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