When it comes to Blur solo/side projects, frontman Damon Albarn hogs the spotlight due, if nothing else, to the sheer number of them. But guitarist Graham Coxon has continually dropped terrific solo albums, full of the memorable hooks and inventive guitar playing that enlivened the best Blur material. His own songs tend toward the garagey/punky side so if “Song 2” is your most favorite Blur tune ever, you should really check out his back catalog, especially 2004’s Happiness in Magazines or 2006’s Love Travels at Illegal Speeds. Or you could just give a listen to his brand new, eighth solo LP, A+E, which I’m going to go out on a limb and declare his best solo album yet.
After 2009’s folky concept LP, The Spinning Top, this new one is a return to the spiky, angsty pop. This time there is a definite post-punk/new wave influence, as if he’s spent the last three years listening to Devo and Tubeway Army. The album doesn’t have distrobution in America for some dumb reason, but you can stream A+E via Spotify which you should do immediately.
There are a lot of single-worthy songs on A+E, but none more stick-in-your head awesome than the first official single “What’ll it Make?” which asks a question many DJs have asked over the years. That question is one of two lines in the whole song. But it works. Additionally, the video (below) should put a giant smile on your face. Taking inspiration from the lyric, Coxon invited fans to submit video of themselves dancing — and strutting — and director Ninian Doff pieced 85 of them (from 22 countries) together into a very clever digital decoupage that probably has Michel Gondry wondering why he didn’t think of it first.