Features

Dr. Dee: The Final Chapter of Albarn’s Outlets? Or Just A Powerful Filler?

In recent times, there has been a vast amount of news spreading around Damon Albarn and his many outlets. Whilst circulation has accumulated around the final farewell to Blur and Gorillaz. And with the Britpop pioneers’ one off show to close the 2012 Olympics well on its way, Albarn has decided to releaseDr Dee, his first solo album.

Having listened to the album; Albarn has taken a huge step to create Dr Dee, sounding completely different to anything that he has ever done before – a brave move for a man used to jumping around stadium stages or hiding behind the 2d cartoon screens of Gorillaz, whilst collaborating with acts such as De La Soul and Snoop Dogg.

Opening with a cathartic classical accompaniment, leaping into an album that delves into a wide range of sounds, an experimental move for Mr Albarn. Encompassing aspects of The Beatles’ psychedelia, most notably present upon Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or The Magical Mystery Tour. Fused with elements of operatic and classical nuance similar to that of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Hans Christian Anderson OST. Where as some track build tremendously, the most gripping tracks tend to be those with a stripped back nature. Shining the limelight onto Albarn’s vocals, accompanied by a mere acoustic guitar or haunting piano. The LP drains out with a simple, chilling gull call, with each whistle fading further into the distance.

Die-hard Blur or Gorillaz fans could be forgiven for misunderstanding and dismissing Dr Dee. It is an interesting effort, but let’s face it – the closest Blur release to Albarn’s new style was 1999’s Tender or The Universal, from some perspectives. Whereas none of the tracks leave space for Bobby Womack or Mos Def to remix or spice things up.  Whilst Dr Dee is a courageous attempt, we do hope to hear more new material from Blur or Gorillaz in the very near future.

Jonathan Hatchman.

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