Blur Announce ‘The Magic Whip,’ First New Album in 12 Years
In a stunning announcement today, Blur have revealed plans to release their first new album in over a dozen years on April 28th, titled The Magic Whip. While the group had reunited for one-off gigs and a pair of new tracks in recent years, the Britpop legends will finally release their first studio LP since 2003′s Think Tank and their first with guitarist Graham Coxon since 1999′s 13. The band also unveiled the video for The Magic Whip‘s first single, “Go Out.”
“We’ve made a new record,” Albarn revealed in a chat with soon-to-be-former BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe that was streamed over Facebook. The album was recorded in a Hong Kong studio over the course of five days after a gig they were scheduled to play was cancelled. “We didn’t have much [equipment]; it was like back when we first started recording stuff,” Albarn said. The band continued to fine-tune what they had worked on over the course of their few gigs together.
The band noted that the secrecy surrounding the project allowed them to work without the pressure usually attached to “a new Blur record,” especially one with 12 years of anticipation.”It was really accidental. It was completely natural and spontaneous.” Albarn said. “I was just singing lyrically what was coming in my head.”
The band added that Hong Kong heavily inspired the album, including the LP’s artwork, which features the words “Blur” and “The Magic Whip” written out in Chinese characters. The new album announcement also arrived on what is the Chinese New Year. Stephen Street, who also worked on the band’s 1997 self-titled LP, produced The Magic Whip.
The news of a secret Blur album is especially surprising considering the ever-prolific Albarn’s own statements about his immediate plans musically: While the singer revealed that he planned on reanimating Gorillaz in 2016 and penning a follow-up to his The Good, The Bad and the Queen project, he said of Blur, ” I would imagine there’s some kind of future, but at the moment there’s no time for the future – only the present,” Albarn told the Sydney Morning Herald this past October, “Who knows? I’m reluctant to say anything [about Blur], because if I do, it just gets taken out of context and then I’m accused of being a wind-up.” More recently, plans for a new Gorillaz album were confirmed when artist Jamie Hewlett revealed new sketches of the cartoon band members.
After disbanding following the release of Think Tank and then reuniting in 2008, Albarn, Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree recorded a pair of new songs, “The Puritan” and “Under the Westway,” rekindling hopes that the band would eventually make another studio album together. In addition to the new LP announcement, Blur also shared that they will headline London’s Hyde Park festival on June 20th. When asked about a U.S. tour, however, the band simply said “Maybe.”
The Magic Whip track list
1. Lonesome Street
2. New World Towers
3. Go Out
4. Ice Cream Man
5. Thought I Was a Space Man
6. I Broadcast
7. My Terracotta Heart
8. There Are Too Many of Us
9. Ghost Ship
11. Ong Ong