Dominated by critical first person lyrics, third person intrusions appear as detached self criticism, as evident in the folky, "Baby You're Out Of Your Mind"; '...you'll end up dead...brain cells diminished and underfed'.
The temptation for listeners familiar with Coxon's recent strife to read The Kiss Of Morning as a very literal journal of Coxon's state of mind. And lyrics like 'That's it, I've got to get out before we fall out again', simply don't help.
However, interest in the album should not be restricted to Blur fans in search of snapshots into Coxon's psyche. It stands up to scrutiny on its own merits and is best listened to divorced from the distraction of the Blur split.
A stripped down acoustic guitar sound pervades, yet Graham draws widely on a host of musical traditions. Compositions range from extreme simplicity to wonderful complexity. No verse, chorus, verse reliance here.
"Latte" involves just a Nick Drake style finger-picked accompaniment. Longingly romantic "Live Line" is backed by a simple folk blues riff. A rolling piano shifts the album to a smoky jazz blues feel in "Locked Doors", culminating in Graham's guitar swatting all asunder, providing a convincing impersonation of non-specific industrial power tools.
A massive gothic organ lifts the sublime "Escape Song" up a gear before a Syd Barrett guitar hook progresses the track to a stomping fuzzed rock finale. The murderously spiteful "Song For The Sick" affects an Irish folk style, with the refrain 'Die Taylor die, you ain't no friend of mine'.
"Mountain Of Regret" provides the album's peak. This is a full on and truly awesome country ballad replete with slide guitars, absent loves and heaps of melancholia. A lyrical taster: "...turned my back on her true love, all my friends and the Lord above. And my drinking dragged me down... "
On the 13th track Graham implores "I want you to remember, the good times". However, The Kiss of Morning reveals good times to be sparse, and life to be far from a walk in the park for most. Fragility, anger, violence and regret provide the timbre of an emotionally charged and musically diverse album. Coxon's best work yet.
Like This? Try These:
Foo Fighters - One By One
Libertines - Up The Bracket --Daniel Pike
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Or will it? This is the fourth album from Blur's recently departed guitar player, although you could be forgiven for not noticing the first three, as he doesn't exactly go all-out for attention (like, say, relying on gimmicky cartoon characters). There are no obvious hit singles here but word of mouth - or Amazon! - just might change all that.
Fellow Blur songsmith Damon Albarn may write about interesting people such as wife swappers, Japanese businessmen, etc but tends to say little more about them than what futile lives they all lead. Coxon, on the other hand, sticks to less adventurous subject matter - mainly love or people who have p****d him off - and as a result his songs are less pretentious and constricted. He doesn't break any new ground when it comes to musical genres, presenting us instead with simple but brilliant melodies which grow on you like...er...hair (well, it's the only pleasant thing I could think of).
Apart from occasional guest contributors it's mostly the man, his guitar and a drum kit - and half the tracks even dispense with the percussion. The songs switch from folksy and acoustic to loud and electric, the best track probably being the bluegrass ballad "Mountain of Regret" which has the authenticity of a 50-year old classic. The lyrics tend to be melancholy or bitter but not depressing. Coxon never goes out of his way to sing the right note and the inclusion of occasional mistakes suggests that he doesn't bother with many takes, giving the album a raw but relaxed charm. It seems that Coxon simply plays music he likes and if anyone else likes them enough to buy them then, well, that's a nice bonus.
Coxon's songwriting seems to have weathered the detrimental effects of fame. In fact, it's probably doing something as uncomplicated as these songs that has kept the man sane. It's ironic but if he wasn't already famous he would probably be hailed as the new Badly Drawn Boy. As it is he seems likely to face relative obscurity. And you know what? I'm sure he couldn't give a gorillaz.
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