ROBOTS & ELECTRONIC BRAINS

Graham Coxon, The sky is too high (Transcopic) CD

Much has been made of the fact that Graham Coxon was supposedly dissatisfied with a lot of Blur's output and was given leeway to drown the last album in dischordant guitar and feedback as a result. The logical next step is to assume that his solo LP was written for the same reason but, if his self-analysis is to be trusted, Coxon reckons it's more to do with drink or, rather, the lack of it: "...this is a rough journal of the wanderings of an abstainer's mind." Which two conjectures make for an ironic observation: much of this album sounds like a maudlin Blur recorded in their cups at 4 am. Coxon's voice is reminiscent of Damon in character: dropped-h and glottal stops, and the pacing and phrasing of the songs is come-down, hang-over onset moody. But there's exhilarating stuff too: cat-strangling, cathartic total guitar onslaught Sonic-Youthisms, controls set for fidelity low and Graham buried deep in the mix. It's not an easy listening experience, nor is that the intention, but it's not the sound of someone reaching for (sky) heights he can't obtain either. It's the sound of an honest set of songs: As at the start of this review, there's been a lot of pseudo-psychology about the origins and motivations of thie record; disections of the form and content and the obscure record collection attempting to explain why it was written, what the message is etc etc. Basically it boils down to a bloke who'd got some songs and wanted to record them the way he wanted to record them. And he did. Wouldn't you?
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