Earlier this year, at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon of Blur were performing a short acoustic set as part of a charity show. They played 3 songs, of which the real surprise of the night was the unveiling of Under The Westway, the first new Blur song since the Record Store Day single Fool's Day a few years ago. Much excitement ensued and the performance was all over youtube from various cameraphones around the venue - would there, at long last, be a new Blur album?
But a plethora of Blur releases have hit the shelves, re-releases of all the albums, the mega box set Blur 21: The Box [Bonus Three DVD's and One 7" LP Record
] that contains nearly every Blur song ever released, a live recording of the summer Hyde Park concert, and this single.
Under The Westway is the headline track, and is a delicate piano led ballad, another in the Blur canon to reference London's Westway. It's a strong song and grows on repeat listens. It feels a grown up song - a world away from the Blur that threw out anthemic choruses, but none the worse for it.
And the flipside is The Puritan. This has nanana bits in for singalong purposes, and is more up tempo and electric, there's a lot going on behind the vocals to the extent it becomes a bit of a skittish wall of sound. It's fun, but Under The Westway is probably the song you'll return to more often.
Also on the CD single is an acoustic rendition of Under The Westway, which goes back to that original Shepherds Bush performance and mainly shows that adding extra instrumentation and bells (but not whistles) in this case really helps make the track, and instrumental versions of Under The Westway and The Puritan which are largely filler unless you have a karaoke urge for one of these tracks.
So two new Blur songs, that can only be good thing. But worth buying the CD single? Only if you like your music in physical form. If not, the MP3 release will do just fine, the extra tracks really are completists only fare.