Thursday, January 18, 2007

I could be completely off-base here, having not actually heard the record, but doesn't Damon Albarn's The Good, The Bad & The Queen supergroup project sound just a tiny bit like a middlebrow take on h****ology? A sort of Mike Skinner-esque knock-off of Burial, even? Well, that's the vibe I get via Stephen Trousse's lead review of The Good, the Bad & The Queen in the new issue Uncut. He notes that the album has been hyped as a "tangential successor to Blur's Parklife, with all the chirpy Parkway comedy soured to dreamy Westway dolour", then says that it could equally be imagined as "a sequel to The Specials "Ghost Town", Ewan MacColl's "Dirty Old Town" or even The Clash's "London Calling": there are spooks and echoes of them all in this cityscape of gasworks and canals, rising rivers and looming dread". And he quotes Albarn cohort Paul Simonon's description of the album as "the record Peter Ackroyd might have made". In songs like "History Song" and "Green Fields" there's imagery of storms, tsunamis, and London being flooded ("the tidal wave... engulfed us all")... echoes of the mockalyptic hysteria of "London Calling" perhaps, but also bizarrely close parallels to the Burial album's mise-en-scene. They also, notes Trousse, parallel the Stanley Donwood artwork for Thom Yorke's The Eraser, "an updated apocalyptic panorama stretching from the Thames estuary upstream to the Gherkin, depicting the NatWest tower, Big Ben and Battersea Power Station awash in a modern day deluge, with a lonely Canute powerless to turn back the waves".

So what's all this imagery of malaise and moistness signify, then? And did I dream this, or are there actually plans to make a movie of Ballard's The Drowned World?

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