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Master Of The Universe

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The Ballard of Darren - out 21 July


https://shop.blur.co.uk/gb/

Surprised to see that. I dont suppose Pulp will do likewise.



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The Only Way is Down

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I'd rather hear the Pulp song, "Darren" but fair fucks to Blur. They don't seem to have issues with quickly coming together, jamming and getting songs to materialise fairly fast as The Magic Whip was also made during rehearsals for touring.

Having said that, you do risk it being half-baked and it's certainly not one of their stronger works.

I'm more impressed that they kept it quiet, pretty difficult to do these days.

Jarvis/Pulp aren't generally in the "constant flow" inhibited by Coxon and Albarn. That's just the way it is, that's just the way it is...#trimmtrabb

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Yeah, I doubt there's going to be a new Pulp LP.  They'd need a bassist first, and even then, I don't know how they'd feel being in the studio without Steve.

Albarn's always churning out bits of stuff - always making music - always receiving the financial backing to do it, and Coxon makes a lot of tunes too (although there were whispers of misconduct about him on social media...) I suppose they drive each other on/challenge each other etc, their friendship/rift and battle for creative control is basically the story of Blur.

The sad truth is that aside from Jarvis, the most musically collaborative and creative member of Pulp - and the one most likely to be a driving force behind any new Pulp release - was Steve. Not to denigrate the other members - absolutely far from it! - but Jarvis and Steve's creative collaboration fired a lot of Pulp's music, from Separations, to writing and mixing 'Common People', to the sound and feel of This is Hardcore.

Short of Russell coming back on board (and I really do not think he'd want a new Pulp album in the least - he's left that world behind), it'd just be the remaining four. And right now, without Pulp, Jarvis can make his own music without it being held up against the band's past work, while I believe both Mark and Candy have featured on past Jarvis releases. 

I think the reality is that any faint notion of new Pulp music died with Steve. 

 



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Eamonn wrote:

I'd rather hear the Pulp song, "Darren" but fair fucks to Blur. They don't seem to have issues with quickly coming together, jamming and getting songs to materialise fairly fast as The Magic Whip was also made during rehearsals for touring.
[...]
Jarvis/Pulp aren't generally in the "constant flow" inhibited by Coxon and Albarn. That's just the way it is, that's just the way it is...#trimmtrabb


Albarn's music has had a familiar thematic feel for a long time now, probably since Plastic Beach. There's a lot of emotional reflection, earnest introspection, songs of regret and sadness, relationships, disconnection from a digital world, imagery of islands and other worlds and dreamlike, liminal settings. It's one of the two modes he occupies, the other being the more political, bratty and worked-up side (Blur's 'Life' trilogy, Demon Days, TGTB&TQ). Given the names of this album's tracks (as well as the one released so far), I expect more of the same.

His worn-out, melancholy lyrics are the sort of thing that goes hand-in-hand with bands from bygone glory days getting back together again. I don't think that outlook, or that approach, is really Jarvis's style; even the most downbeat corners of Pulp's discography have a wisecrack in them ('Help the Aged' has its glue-sniffing wrinklies, for instance, or the namedrop of Music From A Bachelor's Den in 'The Fear'), they get dirtier and realer but there's always something to spark up the crowd too... I think Pulp are more content just to let their past music speak for themselves, they've already lyrically travelled to such extremes and built up a proper lasting statement as a group, too.

After all, the tagline for this year's reunion is 'this is what we do for an encore'. It doesn't make it seem like there's a second act on the way.

 



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The Only Way is Down

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Very well-put and fully agreed!

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Eamonn wrote:

Very well-put and fully agreed!


 Cheers!

The cover art of the new Blur album is interesting.

Picture of bright blue outdoor swimming pool and swimmer within = calls back to The Great Escape album cover

Swimmer also reminiscent of Leisure album cover.

Grey overcast sky and red logo = colours indicative of Think Tank album cover.

The picture is of Gourock outdoor lido - you can see the Cowal peninsula behind in the mist, including its main town, Dunoon. Blur actually performed live in Dunoon around the time of The Great Escape, when they toured seaside towns.



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Master Of The Universe

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Eamonn wrote:

I'd rather hear the Pulp song, "Darren" but fair fucks to Blur. They don't seem to have issues with quickly coming together, jamming and getting songs to materialise fairly fast as The Magic Whip was also made during rehearsals for touring.


Interestingly that was the premise of Jarv is  forming the songs as they went.

The "new" Pulp LP I would envisage would be something created from the unreleased material pre-2002 a la After You.  I think there was a second song recorded for Hits and there is all the We Love Life I suspect there is an album or two in that. And it would be interesting if they did release "Darren"



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ArrGee wrote:
Eamonn wrote:

I'd rather hear the Pulp song, "Darren" but fair fucks to Blur. They don't seem to have issues with quickly coming together, jamming and getting songs to materialise fairly fast as The Magic Whip was also made during rehearsals for touring.


Interestingly that was the premise of Jarv is  forming the songs as they went.

The "new" Pulp LP I would envisage would be something created from the unreleased material pre-2002 a la After You.  I think there was a second song recorded for Hits and there is all the We Love Life I suspect there is an album or two in that. And it would be interesting if they did release "Darren"


The fact that 'Cuckoo' was released recently suggests that Jarvis may have been revisiting this era of Pulp. I mean, otherwise, these are the songs we know of:

Roald Dahl
The Quiet Revolution
Grandfather's Nursery
My Mistake/Chordy
Barry Crusoe/My Body May Die
Medieval Owl
Fire Island
My Chopper
Duck Diving
Cockroach Conversation
Six String
Dream Galaxy
Love You Baby
Darren
M'Lady
Performance Of A Lifetime
The Last Song in the World
St Just
Got To Have Love

Wonder if any of those have particular single potential. We already had After You, after all.



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I'm fine with there being no new Pulp stuff. Jarvis' post-Pulp career hit the same buttons for me. Some archive releases wouldn't go amiss though.

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I would love to hear the After You-treatment of some of the songs left on the WLL cutting-room floor.

I dont know quite what it is, because the songs are fine and plenty of people are really digging them, but Blur and Suedes new music just doesnt work for me. I guess those bands have a very specific meaning to me beyond music, and though they are ostensibly working bands, I kinda see them as undead, like echoes of a future that might have been.

Pulp, on the other hand, seem to accept and embrace this rather than resist. They respect what Pulp means and that a part of that was fuelled by conditions that are no longer there. Something to be celebrated with joy, rather than to possess (in the Exorcist sense). Perhaps there comes a point when the bands no longer belong to themselves in the fullest sense but they are their own caretakers



-- Edited by superchob on Friday 19th of May 2023 07:49:20 PM

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The Only Way is Down

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superchob wrote:

I would love to hear the After You-treatment of some of the songs left on the WLL cutting-room floor. I dont know quite what it is, because the songs are fine and plenty are really digging them, but Blur and Suedes new music just doesnt work for me. I guess those bands have a very specific meaning to me beyond music, and though they are ostensibly working bands, I kinda see them as undead, like echoes of a future that might have been. Pulp, on the other hand, seem to accept and embrace this rather than resist. They respect what Pulp means and that a part of that was fuelled by conditions that are no longer there. Something to be celebrated with joy, rather than to possess (in the Exorcist sense). Perhaps there comes a point when the bands no longer belong to them in the fullest sense but they are their caretakers


That is briliantly put. 100% agree.



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Master Of The Universe

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It's great to hear that they are releasing a new album. Not sure who Darren is. Anyone?

I agree, Pulp probably won't release another album but I'd accept a "We Love Life" deluxe as their final album.

In respect of the songs above, it's worth noting:
Fire Island and My Chopper weren't strictly Pulp songs, they were performed by A Touch of Glass. That said, they could have been prototypes for later Pulp songs that were never released.
Love You Baby / Six String / Medieval Owl / Dream Galaxy - were only recorded as instrumentals but, again, could have found their way into other songs.
Cockroach Conversation was performed by Jarvis at the Meltdown Festival and was apparently an early attempt at using the "Otley" sample that eventually found its way into "The Trees".

I'm not sure of the status of the second song that was recorded for "Hits". I vaguely remember Alex saying that it was fully recorded but they decided not to release it but the Wiki says it was left unfinished.

As for "Darren", I'm taking a wild stab in the dark here but it may have eventually been recycled by Relaxed Muscle. Jarvis came up with the "Darren Spooner" character when doing the "Mis-Shapes" video so he certainly had the idea before this was recorded in 1999. It's just a hunch, but you never know.

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Street Operator

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Ian wrote:

It's great to hear that they are releasing a new album. Not sure who Darren is. Anyone?

I agree, Pulp probably won't release another album but I'd accept a "We Love Life" deluxe as their final album.

In respect of the songs above, it's worth noting:
Fire Island and My Chopper weren't strictly Pulp songs, they were performed by A Touch of Glass. That said, they could have been prototypes for later Pulp songs that were never released.
Love You Baby / Six String / Medieval Owl / Dream Galaxy - were only recorded as instrumentals but, again, could have found their way into other songs.
Cockroach Conversation was performed by Jarvis at the Meltdown Festival and was apparently an early attempt at using the "Otley" sample that eventually found its way into "The Trees".

I'm not sure of the status of the second song that was recorded for "Hits". I vaguely remember Alex saying that it was fully recorded but they decided not to release it but the Wiki says it was left unfinished.

As for "Darren", I'm taking a wild stab in the dark here but it may have eventually been recycled by Relaxed Muscle. Jarvis came up with the "Darren Spooner" character when doing the "Mis-Shapes" video so he certainly had the idea before this was recorded in 1999. It's just a hunch, but you never know.


 All interesting points. I wonder if Medieval Owl was a reference not to ornithology, but to Sheffield Wednesday.



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What the fuck is he doing with his voice? Even in the 90s he wasn't this mockneyfied. And it sounds terrible. It's like he lost all his teeth. Steptoe through a vocoder.

Also, not only is Graham allegedly a sex offender but he's also offensive at the guitar here. It sounds like they're just trying to be gnarly/scuzzy by playing horribly out of tune random chords. Like a phoned-in Swamp Song. It's really sub-par. The production also sounds iffy, can't hear any bass. Pretty dire IMHO.



-- Edited by lipglossed on Friday 30th of June 2023 03:04:16 PM

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Master Of The Universe

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I have just had a listen, it's a bit noisy and I can certainly understand the comparison to "Swamp Song". I'm hoping that it will grow on me or sound better within the context of the album. Otherwise, it sounds like an old forgotten b-side.

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So what do you think of the album?

At 36 minutes, it is their shortest album to date. To me, it feels like they have gone from one extreme to the other - 15 track albums padded out with fillers and useless instrumentals to a 10 track album where the longest song is 4:17. I think that this would have been a better album if they had found some middle ground and made some of the songs longer whilst leaving out the fillers/padding. "The Heights" is a prime example of this, it starts off quite slow and starts to become rockier ("Trimm Trabb" if you will) but ends quite abruptly. Still, there are some great tracks on the album and my current favourite is "Avalon" which sounds nothing like the Roxy Music song by the way.

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Master Of The Universe

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It's... fine. No what I expected. First half is pretty strong, then after that it kinda drags on a bit. There's two bonus tracks in the wild that will maybe find their place in an alternate tracklist...

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lipglossed wrote:


What the fuck is he doing with his voice? Even in the 90s he wasn't this mockneyfied. And it sounds terrible. It's like he lost all his teeth. Steptoe through a vocoder.

Also, not only is Graham allegedly a sex offender but he's also offensive at the guitar here. It sounds like they're just trying to be gnarly/scuzzy by playing horribly out of tune random chords. Like a phoned-in Swamp Song. It's really sub-par. The production also sounds iffy, can't hear any bass. Pretty dire IMHO.



-- Edited by lipglossed on Friday 30th of June 2023 03:04:16 PM


 With that Graham stuff, didnt the people who make the allegations actually say they did it for attention and nothing had actual substance to it?



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Master Of The Universe

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joemc5054 wrote:
lipglossed wrote:


What the fuck is he doing with his voice? Even in the 90s he wasn't this mockneyfied. And it sounds terrible. It's like he lost all his teeth. Steptoe through a vocoder.

Also, not only is Graham allegedly a sex offender but he's also offensive at the guitar here. It sounds like they're just trying to be gnarly/scuzzy by playing horribly out of tune random chords. Like a phoned-in Swamp Song. It's really sub-par. The production also sounds iffy, can't hear any bass. Pretty dire IMHO.



-- Edited by lipglossed on Friday 30th of June 2023 03:04:16 PM


 With that Graham stuff, didnt the people who make the allegations actually say they did it for attention and nothing had actual substance to it?


 

Yes its been debunked it was a crazy fan apparently. There's still the matter with his ex-wife (wives) though but sex offender ? Bit much... 

Dont believe everything you read on the internet. Rule #1.  



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New album is nice from them at this stage of their career, plus the constant uncertainty every time they've reformed about new material, and the tales behind how the new music nearly didn't happen.

It's a decent record, pretty cohesive. Not all the tracks land but those that do really do, and the instrumentalism is lush.

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After repeated listens, it has really grown on me. My above comments remain that a couple of the songs are a bit too short but I think that it's still a worthy entry into their discography. I'm probably not going to get to see them live this time unless they tour the UK again but I'd imagine that the new songs would work well alongside the old songs in a setlist.

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Master Of The Universe

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Seems like blur are done again. I didn't even get around to listening to the new LP

www.nme.com/news/music/damon-albarn-says-its-time-to-wrap-up-blur-again-its-too-much-for-me-3553922

Damon Albarn has shared that Blur will be going on a hiatus until further notice with the frontman saying Its too much for me.

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ArrGee wrote:

Seems like blur are done again. I didn't even get around to listening to the new LP

www.nme.com/news/music/damon-albarn-says-its-time-to-wrap-up-blur-again-its-too-much-for-me-3553922

Damon Albarn has shared that Blur will be going on a hiatus until further notice with the frontman saying Its too much for me.


 

Done until he has 3 minutes to spare, then they will make an album and tour again. 



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Master Of The Universe

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andy wrote:

ArrGee wrote:

Seems like blur are done again. I didn't even get around to listening to the new LP

www.nme.com/news/music/damon-albarn-says-its-time-to-wrap-up-blur-again-its-too-much-for-me-3553922

Damon Albarn has shared that Blur will be going on a hiatus until further notice with the frontman saying Its too much for me.


 

Done until he has 3 minutes to spare, then they will make an album and tour again. 





We will probably get another Gorillaz album in between

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Master Of The Universe

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Ian wrote:
andy wrote:

 

ArrGee wrote:

Seems like blur are done again. I didn't even get around to listening to the new LP

www.nme.com/news/music/damon-albarn-says-its-time-to-wrap-up-blur-again-its-too-much-for-me-3553922

Damon Albarn has shared that Blur will be going on a hiatus until further notice with the frontman saying Its too much for me.


 

Done until he has 3 minutes to spare, then they will make an album and tour again. 



 



We will probably get another Gorillaz album in between


 

That and three operas, one solo album, 50 feat and probably something else. biggrin 



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