To call “Under the Westway,” Beatles-esque, is really a lazy way to describe the first of two new tracks release by Blur to coincide with their concert during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Sure, with its straightforward melody, gradual build, light harmonies and orchestration, restrained in tone, but not in scope, it shares many of the hallmarks of a classic Lennon/Mc Cartney composition from Sgt. Pepper. But listen closer, and you can hear all of these extraordinary details, like echo hanging on dearly to the drumbeats, or the slight clink of a xylophone, or overlapping, almost collapsing keys. A lot of care went into the recording of “Under the Westway,” to make sure it would be more than a another nostalgia trip by a band who’s had to wear the backwards-looking, Brit Pop label for much of their career.
STREAM: Blur – Under the Westway
“Puritan,” meanwhile is the worst kind of Blur song for those who wish Blur would stay together longer than for a song here and a concert there — The type that that reminds you that Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Alex James, Dave Rowntree still have much of that old creative magic left. The beefy bass notes and agile beats on this synth-pop track prove that the lads have been paying attention to current trends in EDM. Yet, unlike most rock bands who’ve tried to co-opt modern trends in electronic music, Blur never sound out of their element. Like “On Your Own,” from their self-titled release, the band keeps the music playful and light. Scooby-Doo cartoon effects appear during the second verse, and the big build up leads to a room full of winsome and whirling electronics and a whole lotta of “La, la, la’s.” Damn you Blur. You did it again.
STREAM: Blur – The Puritan
Both “Under the Westway” and “Puritan” are available now through your favorite digital music retailer. Look for a limited edition 7″ single of both tracks to come out this August on Parlophone.