Music Review: Blur, “Parklive” (EMI/Parlophone)
Blur is either shoring up its legacy to strengthen the band’s next chapter or capping it off for posterity — Damon Albarn’s assessment of the reunited group’s life expectancy seems to change daily. Whether Blur has no distance left to run or has hope for tomorrow, the raucously remarkable “Parklive,” released days after the group’s massive concert in London’s Hyde Park at the close of the Summer Olympic Games, makes the case that the love affair between Blur and its British fans is reaching fever pitch.
For such a quick turnaround, “Parklive” sounds crisp and expertly mastered, but the short time between concert and marketplace also kept the band or any other powers that be from fussing over it. This is, after all, a document of how about 100,000 people bonded with Albarn, guitarist Graham Coxon, bassist Alex James and drummer Dave Rowntree, and throughout “Parklive,” they all come on like the biggest hooligan backup choir on record. As Coxon begins playing the signature guitar line from “Tender,” the audience immediately starts singing the “Oh my baby” refrain, and on several tracks, including “Country House,” the crowd seems to be fighting Albarn for lead vocal duties.
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