New music from Blur doesn’t just sprout from the ground, fall from the air, or materialize without sufficient fanfare.
The British pop-rock band was a standout of the ‘90s Britpop era, an act with charm, hits, a loveable line-up, and, as it turns out, longevity and a knack for reinvention.
While many of their contemporaries are frozen in time, Blur remains relevant.
The original combination of Damon Albarn (vocals/keyboard), Graham Coxon (vocals/guitar), Alex James (bass) and Dave Rowntree (drums) returns for The Ballad Of Darren (via Parlophone), Blur’s ninth studio album and first in eight years.
Arriving at the stroke of midnight, The Ballad Of Darren was produced by James Ford, and recorded at Studio 13 in London and Devon, England in spring of this year.
Comprising 10 tracks, including the first release “The Narcissist,” which earned the lads their first Airplay Chart top 10 since 1997, plus followup “St. Charles Square,” The Ballad of Darren is the result of a fortuitous gathering of the bandmembers at Albarn’s West London studio just six months ago.
Since then, the foursome has shaken off the rust with several triumphant performances, including headline slots at Wembley Stadium on July 8 and 9. Both dates were sellouts.
More shows will follow.
Blur will embark on a run of Continental European festival dates, starting Saturday (July 22) at Italy’s Lucca Summer Festival, followed by spots at Japan’s Summer Sonic fest and additional dates in Central and South America. Fans everywhere can log into a “Live from London” presentation on July 25, for what is said to be the first ever performance of the new LP.
The Ballad of Darren follows the release of The Magic Whip in 2015, which hit No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart, one of the band’s six leaders. Albarn and Co. have landed 13 U.K. top 10 singles, including No. 1s with “Country House” (1995) and “Beetlebum” (1997).
Stream The Ballad of Darren in full below.