(Planet Me)
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
 
DAMON ALBARN Everyday Robots

After Blur, after Gorillaz, after The Good The Band The Queen, and The Monkey Opera, and the soundtracks, and Damon Albarns other two solidly underwhelming records - “Democrazy” and “Dr Dee” - comes this, his 'first' solo record, though his eighteenth album (no counting the three best of compilations and the box sets and the live records). As it is “Everyday Robots” still bears huge traces of who he used to be, so for all the approach of this as an honest record, unadorned by artifice and masks, it's still the sound of a man writing instrumental whimsy and songs about elephants. At times, it's boring, lifeless, you could call it timely, textured, thoughtful, but also, it lacks any sense of now, any moment of need, it's almost about nothing – and leaves me cold. The sense of wonder, of bristling exploration, of questioning, is there but subdued, present in the slightly quirky melodies, the offbeat use of rhythm, the world-influences writ large. I'm sure this might be a record that is a grower, that repeated exposure and listens might reveal, but ultimately, “Everyday Robots” is the sound of man with nothing to say speaking anyway. The music is barely present, lacking in dynamism, speed, any sense of urgency. This is the sound of a musician waiting idly for a bus, aimlessly strumming away, and serving a half-hearted piece as if it were homework with a purfunctory sigh. Laidback, loving, lonely, almost lost, everyday robots sounds like it has been made by everyday robots, with the same degree of passion and commitment as a tired man clocking into the office. Damon Albarn is capable of much much better than this. “Underachiever... and proud of it!”


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