While on the ‘Plastic Beach’ tour of North America in autumn 2010 Albarn and cohorts set about recording a new album on iPads during a 32-day stretch between Montreal and Vancouver. It’s immediately clear this is a profoundly different beast to the previous three albums, featuring barely any guest stars (although ‘Plastic Beach’ star Bobby Womack does turn up on the sublime synthetic soul of ‘Bobby In Phoenix’). This feels less like a talented middle-aged man and his sleb mates having a laugh and more like a cohesive album.
So there aren’t any retreads of ‘DARE’ or ‘Clint Eastwood’ but it is a stunning album from start to finish. We are treated to the lascivious Ohio Players/G-funk synth stylings of ‘The Snake In Dallas’, which sounds as if Dr Dre had been called in to produce The Go! Team. ‘Amarillo’ is a lachrymal ballad worthy of Blur in their pomp and ‘[b]The Joplin Spider[/b]’ is aqua-crunk gone pop.
|A1||Phoner To Arizona||4:15|
|A6||Little Plastic Bags||3:10|
|A7||The Joplin Spider||3:22|
|B1||The Parish Of Space Dust||2:26|
|B2||The Snake In Dallas||2:11|
|B4||The Speak It Mountains||2:15|
|B6||Bobby In Phoenix||3:17|
|B7||California & The Slipping Of The Sun||3:24|