Damon Albarn: The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows (Transgressive) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 22nd, 2024  

Damon Albarn

The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows

Transgressive

Nov 12, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Throughout his decades-long career in music, from the lead singer of Britpop’s famed Blur to being the mastermind behind the collaborative Gorillaz, Damon Albarn has managed to maintain a global influence. Although such inspiration has taken varied forms with each passing year, Albarn’s artistry focuses on a constant global discovery of music that frequently crosses over into his own. As a distinctly recognizable vocalist, some of his songs may sound similar on the surface, but his willingness to constantly strive to grow sets new material apart in his vast discography.

Such is the case on Albarn’s new album The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows. Although he has been active in other projects, primarily Gorillaz, this release marks his first solo material since 2014’s Everyday Robots. The record’s original intention was to purely consist of instrumentals after Albarn drew inspiration from stunning scenery in Iceland. However, as most artists went into lockdown, their projects morphed with the changing world, and Albarn’s is an example.

In tune, The Nearer the Fountain… feels increasingly somber to those familiar with his previous creations. On the subtly percussive “The Cormorant,” Albarn reflects on memories from a place of feeling trapped, singing, “There was black in the last year/I swear, sometimes, I can see beyond the lighthouse.” He also elaborates on themes of giving up on the piano ballad “Daft Wader” and events becoming nonexistent during “The Tower of Montevideo.”

Despite Albarn’s fluctuating nature between the emotional and instrumental highs-and-lows, his greatest strength on The Nearer The Fountain… is having an ear for cohesiveness. Most of the songs seamlessly track into the next while maintaining a distinct identity of their own. With each rotation of the record, Albarn’s artistry allows for discovering new puzzle pieces in a masterfully crafted way. (www.damonalbarnmusic.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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