Album review: Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots

Damon Albarn's Everyday Robots

Damon Albarn's Everyday Robots - Credit: Archant

There’s something quite brilliant about the cover of Everyday Robots. It might be the minimalist design, or the careful juxtapositioning of fonts, but perhaps it’s just how Damon Albarn looks like a sulky child made to sit down and do his homework.

The fact that it’s taken him well over two decades to release his first solo record suggests at a certain reluctance, and you can’t blame him. The man has had more projects than 1990s West Baltimore, and in every one he has injected different and distinct fragments of his own persona.

So after all that, how can one record possibly say “this is definitively me”?

The 42-year-old’s solution is typically well-measured. Everyday Robots doesn’t so much reveal a new man as it does combine everything we’ve come to know the wonderfully talented and prolific songwriter for – all while stripping him down to a series of intimate, piano-led musings on childhood, love and modern life.

Lead single Everyday Robots puts you at ease with a subtle, infectious string sample that demonstrates Albarn’s penchant for a hook, even at his most bare.

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Mr Tembo is a percussive, jaunty departure from the album’s retrospection, which otherwise reaches its most powerful in The Selfish Giant, as the singer declares “it’s hard to be a lover when the TV’s on”.

Thoughtful, revealing but warmly famliar, Albarn’s solo debut feels, perhaps deceptively, a natural step.

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Rating: Four stars

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