posted on July 14, 2009 19:00
A review of the album 'The Spinning Top' by Graham Coxon
Review Snapshot: 15 tracks of pure eloquence, beauty and expert finger-picking from the Blur guitarist's seventh solo album. This album documents the life story of a man from birth to death, and realistically could've either gone one of two ways: it could've been disastrous or it could've been fantastic. Fortunately, it's the latter.
The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10
'The Spinning Top', the seventh solo offering from Blur's Graham Coxon, documents the life story of a man from birth to death. This album could easily be brushed aside due to the hustle of bustle of Blur's reunion overshadowing it. But this is typically Coxon's style, he never vies for the limelight and seems content with being the musical genius in the background.
However, it would be a crime for this album to go unnoticed. There's a 60s vibe throughout, seemingly influenced by folk musicians such as Davy Graham and Nick Drake. Though these influences are apparent Coxon also retains his own unique musicianship, using varied instrumentation most of which he played himself.
From the outset the album has a loose, natural progression. It becomes obvious that this is the work of a true musician whose main concern is how the album sounds and artistic expression, as opposed to the chart position.
Though the album is mainly acoustic some tracks feature more rock inspired instrumentation. 'If You Want Me' starts off softly, with Coxon singing gently and an overall relaxed tone. But as the song reaches the half-way mark it changes and an electric guitar is introduced, this makes for an unexpected temporary return to his rock roots. It's refreshing, and also fits in perfectly with the style of the song.
It's fair to say that Coxon is widely recognised as a prolific guitarist. But 'Brave the Storm' displays his immense song writing abilities, 'There's a wood where we can disappear/Into our own little stratosphere.' It has a jaunty rhythm, and evokes peaceful imagery. This is definitely a musician at the top of his game.
'Humble Man' is, without a doubt, my favourite track on the album. With Coxon calling out 'Heaven help me/Help me to be a humble man' while the words are immersed in the most sublime of music it is flawless. That, coupled with the fact the song will be stuck in your head for days, makes for joyous listening.
Ultimately, 'The Spinning Top' displays Coxon's undeniable musical talent at its best. It's a new, fresh album which is dissimilar to his previous albums. Though the album may never receive the acclaim it truly deserves, and may never be a staple of many record collections, it is an album in which once it's heard will make for memorable and impressionable listening.
Aideen O' Flaherty