Blur guitarist's seventh solo album enters 'concept' territory!
Ian Wade 2009-05-06
No one really still needs Graham Coxon described to them, unless you have just landed after several decades travelling the universe. Aside from his part in Blur, since 1998 the man who's possibly the greatest guitarist of his generation has also been carving out a respectable solo career. While the first few albums sounded a bit like a Dinosaur Jr that had got out of the bed the wrong side that morning, it was on his fourth album, Happiness In Magazines, that the noisy rantings were starting to be carved into tunes and finally showed that he could do very well without the other three. Now for his seventh album, Graham may have just excelled all preconceptions again.
Following the form of a narrative of a man from birth to death, the 15 numbers on The Spinning Top see Coxon after he immersed himself in the world of late folk genius Davy Graham and the likes of the also recently late John Martyn, basically teaching himself to play the likes of Graham's Anji and probably destroying his hands in the process. The Spinning Top is a revelation. A gorgeous album of folkin' strokin' pluckin' and strummin' that cements Coxon as a true icon in a day and age populated by unmagnificence.
Lead single Sorrow's Army flickers fantastically into life when the skiffle kicks in; Feel Alright is a more melodic counterpoint to his own Freakin' Out with Coxon revelling on a Sunday morning; I'm now also wondering whether the glistening Look Into The Light might work at my funeral; Dead Bees squeals about groovily in a wonky fonk, while gentle birdsong infuses In The Morning beautifully. With contributions from the likes of folk legend Danny Thompson, there are moments on this album where you imagine Coxon would be more likely to be involved in a chart battle had this been released the same week as a Nick Drake album.
So, for Coxon fans? A treat. Blur fans? A treat. Humanity in general? A... (you get the idea). The Spinning Top may just be Coxon's finest album yet.