BLUR Think Tank (EMI) Rating: NN Rating: NN
Having lost their guitarist, hired Fatboy Slim as a producer and relocated to Morocco to record, you might expect Blur to come out flying, or at least sound shook up and revitalized on their new album. Not so. Disjointed, uneven and occasionally uninspired, Think Tank sounds like a group grasping for ideas, not putting them together. Part of the blame for that should go to novelty producer Norman Cook, who can pull beats from records but can't produce pop songs. The disc does have its moments. Damon Albarn's recent interest in African music has given the band a broader palette, adding ouds and Arabic strings to some songs and giving a dubby, Afrobeat shuffle to others. Mostly, though, Blur sound like they miss guitarist Graham Coxon. For all the band's past experiments, from gospel to Britpop, Coxon was the glue. Fittingly, it's his smartly written closing track (a song about old friends, no less) that truly stands out on Think Tank.