There is a sense of underlying melancholy and ghostly forlornness that punctuates Damon Albarn’s solo debut Everyday Robots. Such qualities will surely come as a surprise especially to those most familiar with Albarn’s role as frontman of Blur. With Blur, he is renowned for his flippancy towards England and English society. The band’s singles such as Popscene, Country House, Charmless Man and Parklife, among others, all take a jab at the idiosyncrasies of life with inimitable flair and biting humour.
While Albarn has intrinsically become synonymous with Blur in the past 20 years, he is no stranger to side projects and collaborations. The man has been churning out eclectic music under various names besides his own since 2001 including the Good, the Bad and the Queen, Rocket Juice and the Moon, and most well-known, his genre-bending virtual supergroup Gorillaz. Now, for the first time, the 46-year-old artist has finally released a long-overdue solo record under his name, and it’s nothing short of a revelation.
Billed as his “most soul-searching and autobiographical yet”, Everyday Robots
definitely lives up to the claim. Sounding somewhat defeated, Albarn sings “We are everyday robots on our phones/In the process of getting home,” on the wistful title track. In the background, a mechanical creak eerily represents the detached drudgery of life in the technology-dominated 21st century. “For everyday robots getting old/When our lips are cold/Lookin’ like standing stones/Out there on our own,” he sums up the essence not only of the track but also of the album itself.
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