Graham Coxon has many iterations. There’s the cheeky chappie BritPop Blur guitarist, there’s the post Blur thrasher (not appealing) then the new lighter post punk pop that frequented his latter two (brilliant) albums. And now there is this. Coxon does folk.
He opens as Nick Drake, closes as Robert Wyatt and picks up a bit of Bert Jansch and even Cream in between.
The list of instruments that he and his excellent loose band of musicians (including Robyn Hitchcock) get through is quite amazing; electric guitar, soprano saxophone, drums, percussion, harmonica, retaliation guitars, bass, sompoton, barcarole concertina, farfisa compact organ, and lorenzo chord organ are Coxon’s contribution. But you can add to that; esraj, diruba, jori, taus, double bass, glockenspiel, chromatic creeping electric guitar, congas, drums, flute, indiscriminate fire electric guitar, sonar electric guitar, buoy bell and piano.
That all makes it sound like a bit of a mess. It isn’t. Far from it.
Because what drives it all along is the astounding acoustic guitar which dominates the mix throughout. In fact it’s a largely acoustic album despite that panoply of electrical gizmos. And it’s beautiful. Probably Coxon’s finest hour. Of course it will barely sell enough to cover the week’s groceries. But that’s not a problemo. He has a reunion tour with Blur coming up to pay for everything else.
His style of fingerpicking is quite remarkeable (for a thrash guitarist) and the lightness of the record is very redolent of late 60’s and early 70’s when British folk was arguably at its height. It’s poerhaps no surprise then that he dedicates the record to John Martyn.