The summer starts here, with one of the most unlikely musical announcements of the year.
Blur have announced details of their first album in 12 years, which will be titled The Magic Whip, available on April 27th. To celebrate, they'll be headlining one of the British Summer Time Hyde Park shows, on June 20th, their fourth appearance at the event.
It will mark their first album since 2003's Think Tank and, since that featured only one track with founder guitarist Graham Coxon, is really their first record as a four piece since 1999's 13 - nearly 16 years ago. They did, however, release a one-off single in 2012, with two tracks Under The Westway and The Puritan.
The lyric video for Go Out, one of the album's tracks, can be can be viewed below, showcasing Albarn's vocals and Coxon's trademark angular guitar work.
The band made the announcement at a press conference in a Chinese restaurant in London, hosted by outgoing Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. Damon Albarn commented that, “I really felt at the end of the last gigs that that was it - there was no way we could do another gig without an another album.” The record is apparently a return to “The way we recorded when we started. It wasn’t a flash studio, it was pretty claustrophobic and hot. We went in and knocked about loads of ideas.”
The songs were initially made in Hong Kong, following a cancelled show, before they brought in long-time producer Stephen Street to work on them. They have released the full tracklisting, which you can see in the image below, together with the album artwork.
The record follows Damon Albarn's Mercury-nominated solo debut album Everybody Robots, which was released last year and Graham Coxon's eighth solo album, A+E, which came out in 2012. Meanwhile bassist Alex James has been busy with his culinary adventures and drummer Dave Rowntree has been a political activist.
Tickets for their June 20th show will go on sale on Barclaycard presale on Tuesday 24 February via this link, via AEG presale on Thursday 26 February via this link and on general sale on Friday February 27th at 9am - you can preorder The Magic Whip on Amazon and iTunes now to get exclusive pre-sale access.
Meanwhile, can The Stone Roses get on with it too? Thanks lads.