The musical polymath of our generation returns. Once again, he brings something completely fresh to the party. Are there any other artists as versatile, bold and gifted as Damon Albarn? Just look at his body of work down the years. No genre is left untouched, yet nothing feels forced or unnatural.
Now we have a wonderfully wistful and ethereal collection, partly inspired by his new home in Iceland and the landscape and seas he looks out on to each day. The other big inspiration is the work of romantic poet, John Clare. These meld together to create an end product that is incredibly moving.
Lyrically, it is opaque and often indecipherable whilst, musically, the distinctive timbres of an Elka Space Organ and a Wurlitzer feature heavily, bringing a nostalgic feel to these songs. The tragic shuffle of Darkness To Light is the perfect example. Then there is the gorgeous Latin hue of The Tower Of Montevideo. The stand-out track, however, is the Bowie-like The Cormorant, which has to rank as one of the highlights of Albarn’s entire career.
As I said in my Louder Than War piece, The Nearer The Fountain is a masterclass in songwriting.