The Good, The Bad and the Queen
February 5, 2007
GQ has been pimping this album pretty heavily, and for once, those snark happy, snappy dressing, music trend jumping folks were right. This album rocks, or rather purrs.
Like a breath of British air blowing through the speakers, this is a rather quiet affair for a rock album. It’s very English, brimming with restraint and evoking muscial traditions like the woozy Reggae swing of the Clash. That Reggae/Ska tinge comes through in the pacing of the tracks and through the influence of bass player, Paul Simonon formerly of the Clash himself. The other folks in this band you might have heard of are lead singer Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), Tony Allen (only Fela Kuti’s fucking drummer) and Simon Tong (the Verve).
So yeah, it’s a superstar affair and it’s kinda cool being able to pick out all the separate influences as you listen to the album. It’s like everyone is doing their own thing but somehow or the other it all meshes into this oh so smooth and pleasing whole. Albarn sings all quiet and British like about English weather, civil unrest and happiness in spite of it all. His voice never really rises above a murmur the entire album. The rest of the music is just as laid back. Tony Allen creates all these intricate little drum patterns switching things up repeatedly during the songs, seemingly veering into drum n’ bass on some of the tracks. There is no banging around here, this is not Audioslave. Even when the album peaks on the title and final track with an extended jam session; bass, guitars and pianos going at it, distortion here, noise experiment there, it never really rises to anything too frenetic. It’s moving sure, and damned good stuff, but this is an album so polite you could take it to tea with your mum.