Damon Albarn marks with Everyday Robots his departure from the legendary ventures of Blur and Gorrilaz, and the album hails a long-anticipated solo effort from a figure regarded as one of music’s modern day geniuses.
The album’s eponymous opening ballad is a reflective lament at modern life, and its melancholic strings set the tone of album until the upbeat, soulful croon of Mr Tembo. Some tracks such as Parakeet touch upon the downright experimental, while the influences of jazz and world music can be heard in others. Albarn himself has mentioned the positive effects of narcotics on his music in the past, and tracks such as Photographs (featuring recordings of late recreational drugs advocate Timothy Leary) might well be an honest homage to that period.
All in all, the debut is lyrically crafted near to perfection and peppered with personal nostalgia, while the passing of time is conveyed through the synthesised, minimalist drum beats that wearily characterises many of the songs. It’s a shame that the former britpop frontman doesn’t revisit his eclectic influences more, and express them overtly throughout the album, essentially leaving them as a collection of unfulfilled loose ends. But if this debut is anything to go by, they will soon be tied up in an unexpected but brilliant manner.