Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Good, The Bad & The Queen - The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Since I've heard about this project some months ago, my expectations have been pretty high, specially after knowing about its dreamy line-up consisting of Simon Tong (former Verve guitarist), Paul Simonon (ex-Clash bassist), the legendary drummer Tony Allen (who used to be part of Fela Kuti's band, inventor of afro-beat), producer Danger Mouse (Gorillaz, Gnarls Barkley, Dangerdoom) and finally, the brain behind all this, Mr. Damon Albarn himself (Blur, Gorillaz) on vocals. Damon has been saying that this is the natural successor to "Parklife" by Blur and in a way it makes sense. After that perfect pop moment, Blur's follow-up albums have been experiments with different styles, all of them quite interesting but lacking a sense of plenitude, as if each album was just a step in its leader's quest to reach something else. With "The Good, The Bad & The Queen", it seems that we finally get to understand what he was looking for. A multitude of layered textures and sound details are used in these pessimistic tales about London and its inhabitants, while the personality of each member is strongly audible, but more in a subliminar way. The resulting sound is one of gigantic coherence and cohesion, thanks largely to Damon's input as a brilliantly skilled songwriter and singer. So even though I still think that his masterpiece is "Demon Days" from his side-project Gorillaz (from which this new project borrows its apocalyptic atmosphere) "The Good, The Bad & The Queen" manages to get very close to perfection, creating a new language of extreme terrorizing beauty, while showing us the current ultimate goal of one of the most prolific and creative musicians of our age. (8/10)

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