As guitarist of the Britpop sensation Blur, Graham Coxon crafted some of the most recognizable riffs of the 90’s, at least in his native Britain. However, his solo career has been much more varied, allowing the musician to be far more experimental with his music.
His eighth solo album, A+E, is miles away sonically from 2009’s The Spinning Top. Whereas his last release was something of an acoustic concept album, A+E is a smattering of gritty garage rock. Electric guitars are distorted, vocals are filtered, and everything is cranked up loud. This is a record that is aggressive to stake a claim in your collection, not angry by any means, but eager to take a stand.
If ever there was a question of Coxon’s technical mastery, the riffs on “The Truth” are nuanced and catchy enough to leave no room for doubt. Even if the lyrics are a bit obscure or obtuse, such as in “Seven Naked Bodies,” the horns and guitars are enough to make the music still accessible.
“Eat and Drink and Pollinate” is mesmerizingly robotic, while “Running for Your Life” careens between rapid vocals and frenzied guitar that threatens to clatter out of control. “Knife in the Cast” churns on like a sober take on druggy classics, and closer “Ooh, Yeh Yeh” is arguably the album’s most accessible, ending the record with a singalong refrain that becomes quite the earworm.
Each of Coxon’s records reveal a different aspect of his personality. A+E is unpolished, energetic, and brazen. Coxon outplays, outrocks, and outweirds musicians half his age, which is why his career is always one to watch.