Everyday Robots (Warner/Parlophone)
Rating : NN Rating: NN
As he often did on Blur’s early albums, Damon Albarn uses the occasion of his debut solo LP to satirize middle-class life. Right off the top, the eclectic Britpop maestro zeroes in on the pervasiveness of technology by envisioning mobile-phone-addicted hordes “swimming in lingo” in a perpetual, dehumanizing stasis.
Elsewhere the album is full of reflective autobiographical detail, so presumably he counts himself among those hordes. On Lonely Press Play, he sings droopingly of technology as compulsive self-therapy. Later, on You And Me, he alludes to past drug use.
Not all of Everyday Robots is woe-begone. The mood perks up on the cutesy African-influenced ditty Mr. Tembo, and Brian Eno provides the uplifting hook on closer Heavy Seas Of Love. Throughout, sputtering rhythms, steel pan and samples courtesy of producer Richard Russell offset Albarn’s lilting dreariness.
Though deftly orchestrated, Everyday Robots feels deflated and aimless, and the nature-versus-technology theme frequently results in clichés. Call him the quirky curmudgeon.
Top track: Heavy Seas Of Love