Blur. The biggest indie band to come out of Essex possibly ever. They came to fame as mop topped peddlers of chirpy mockney britpop. Then they evolved into the arty noiseniks who could hold their own alongside the US art rock set. They lost their guitarist for a bit and still the critics loved them. They were the educated flip side of the Britpop war (Team Blur Vs Team Oasis) and they were given a lifetime achievement award back in 2012 despite only just being back from a lengthy hiatus.
Then came Gorillaz and The Good The Bad And The Queen and Everyday Robots and Rocket Juice And The Moon and Doctor Dee and Mali Music and The Heavy Seas and and and…
You just can’t pin those Blur lads down. One things for sure. They’ve tried on a few different suits along the way to finding their own sound. Hidden almost at the end of the track listing of their massive monument of Britpop Parklife is this angry little fucker.
There’s a real spirit of ’77 in the tumultuous 3 man riff. Graham, Alex and Dave all as one yack out that huge noise. Then in his best Johnny Rotten mindset, Damon tells the tale of disaffected disinterest that is Jubilee.
“Jubilee slouches in the settee he’s losing all will to move, he gone divvy too much telly, he’s watching 24 hours of rubbish”
The band are ping tight as they keep that gargantuan noise rolling.
“He got butane, he got plastic bags his eyes are going square, oh yeah, he no raver just antisocial, he’s not going to cut his hair”
This song is so punk it’s sat on a sofa in a grotty flat abusing substances. We learn all about Jubilee’s world over the coming verses and the band channel The Damned and the ghosts of the previous Jubilee year immaculately.
Then you get the dive bombing arcade game sound effects in the space a guitar solo should be. There’s the distinct impression this band can do anything they like and it comes out sounding like world class top tier rock music.
There’s an earlier punky blast in the first half of the album in the form of Bank Holiday. That earlier track has more rotund bonhomie and seems to be about the Brits at play. Jubilee is less content. More at odds. The wallpaper is peeling off the walls in this track.
It’s all over in a matter of two short minutes before the album goes back into Kinks worship (the band that is, actually on some tracks, the other kind too) and weird Albionic instrumentals. Parklife is a montage of British Pop things from the 50’s to the 90’s. Their short stop in the summer of Punk was a highlight for me.
“He dresses incorrectly no one told him, Seventeen”
1994 minus 17 equals?