Blur have revealed details of a surprise new album ‘The Ballad Of Darren’ and shared first single ‘The Narcissist’. Check it out below.
The returning Britpop legends first announced their return in November with news of a huge show at Wembley Stadium – before revealing a second date at the venue ahead of a run of European festival shows and an intimate UK warm-up tour, which kicks off in their hometown of Colchester tomorrow (Friday May 19).
Today, the band announced that the 10-track ‘The Ballad Of Darren’ will arrive on July 21 via Parlophone, and is available for pre-order. here. The band’s first album since 2015’s ‘The Magic Whip’ is previewed by single ‘The Narcissist’ – a moderately-paced bittersweet track reminiscent of the alt-rock leanings of 2003’s ‘Think Tank’.
The band’s ninth album was produced by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Depeche Mode) and recorded at Studio 13 in London and Devon. Speaking about making the record, the band said they found themselves examining their relationship.
Frontman Damon Albarn described ‘The Ballad Of Darren’ as “an aftershock record” full of “reflection and commentary on where we find ourselves today”, while guitarist Graham Coxon said: “The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is full of the right emotion and intention. Sometimes just one riff doesn’t do it.”
Bassist Alex James, meanwhile, said that “for any long-term relationship to last in any sense you have to surprise each other somehow and somehow we keep doing that”, and drummer Dave commented Rowntree how the band found that “It’s always been really natural to make music together”.
“With every record we make, the process reveals something new and we develop as a band. We don’t take that for granted,” he added.
The artwork for the album features a photograph of Gourock lido in Renfrewshire by British photographer Martin Parr, along with the photo story featured in The watchman in 2014.
The tracklist for ‘The Ballad Of Darren’ is:
‘St Charles Square’
‘The Everglades (For Leonard)’
The news of the band’s return comes after Albarn previously claimed NME that the band had been in talks and “had an idea” of how to return, before Rowntree teased that live activity was on the cards if all members were “up to it” and Coxon appeared to downplay the chances a reunion. .
Coxon, who recently released his autobiography Verse, Chorus, Monster!is also set to release the debut album with THE WAEVE, his side-project with former Pipettes member-turned-Mark Ronson collaborator and singer-songwriter Rose Elinor Dougall.
After releasing the acclaimed solo album ‘The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows’ in 2021, Albarn will release a new album ‘Cracker Island’ with Gorillaz in February.
Meanwhile, Rowntree is gearing up for the release of his debut solo album ‘Radio Songs’.
Check out Blur’s upcoming tour dates below, and visit here for tickets and more information.
Friday 19 – COLCHESTER, Arts Centre
Sunday 21 – EASTBOURNE, Winter Gardens
Friday 26 – WOLVERHAMPTON, Civic at the Halls
Sunday 28 – NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, O2 City Hall
Thursday 1 – PRIMAVERA SOUND, Barcelona
Thursday 8 – PRIMAVERA SOUND, Madrid
Saturday 10 – PRIMAVERA PORTO, Portugal
Saturday 24 – MALAHIDE, Malahide Castle & Gardens
Friday 30 – ROSKILDE, Denmark
Thursday – BEAUREGARD , France
Saturday 8 – LONDON, Wembley Stadium
Week 9 – LONDON, Wembley Stadium
Friday 14 – – VILLES CHARRUES, France
Saturday 22 – LUCCA, Lucca Summer Festival, Italy
Week 23 – VILLES CHARRUES, France
Tuesday 8 – OKERSE FESTEN, Belgium
Wednesday 9 2023 – ØYA Festival, Norway
Thursday 10-Saturday 12 – WAY OUT WEST Festival, Sweden