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An Angel's Wings in Cool Night Air...,
This review is from: The Spinning Top (Audio CD)
I have to admit to being surprised to discover that this release will be Coxon's seventh solo album. He's clearly been beavering away at a productive rate of knots since parting with Blur. Some of his past albums have been scratchy, lo-fi assortments, all of which have nevertheless each contained some gems that shine as brightly as any from his time with Blur - tracks such as Flights to the Sea, and Bittersweet Bundle of Misery.
It's ironic however, given his welcoming back into the Blur fold for a full Summer band reunion, that he may have now released what could be his most commercially successful solo album yet.
The press release from Coxon quotes him as wanting to find a new way of using acoustic instruments, without them being soppy or nice. He has clearly gone back to English greats such as John Martyn and Nick Drake to find influence for the production in these songs - neat and elegant finger picking, flourishes of piano, and an undercurrent of double bass featuring in many tracks. Of course, we're also never too far from Syd Barrett with Caspian Sea and Far from Everything.
However, this is not pastiche - Coxon is a very mature songwriter, and he manages to sustain a very powerful atmosphere of wistfulness, hope, fragility, pensiveness, sometimes melancholia, but always great warmth and humanity throughout this album, which demands to be heard in its completeness, from start to finish. It's one of those albums that will sound great late on a Summer's night - Look into the Light captures the joyous spirit of Nick Drake as well as anyone I have heard attempt this. In the Morning really is a beautiful modern take of a joyous early John Martyn song like Over the Hill, with the refrain 'An angel's wings in cool night air', which is what this whole album sounds like to my ears.
I feel a little ashamed that I didn't fully credit Graham Coxon as a national English musical treasure before. Better late than never!