DESPITE RECENT rumours of stalled sessions, Blur have announced the emergence of an eighth studio album by the band on April 27. Making 2015 a landmark year for the group – 20 years after their Country House single and The Great Escape album marked the peak of Britpop’s imperial phase – they will also headline a British Summer Time gig in London’s Hyde Park on June 20.
The album, entitled Magic Whip, features all of the group’s classic line-up, including guitarist Graham Coxon, who was prominent in bringing the album to fruition after the project appeared to have been shelved. Partly recorded in Hong Kong, co-produced by Stephen Street (who worked on all the band's albums from debut Leisure until 1997's Blur) and boasting Chinese-themed artwork, it was unveiled today at a press event in London’s Chinatown (pictured, above), timed to coincide with Chinese New Year.
The British Summer Time show will be the latest chapter in Blur’s special relationship with Hyde Park, the group having consummated their first full reunion (Coxon returning after he quit sessions for 2003’s Think Tank album) with a pair of bravura shows there in 2009 before helping close the London Olympics in the venue on August 12, 2012.
Moreover, as Albarn revealed during the 2009 show, before launching into Parklife’s epochal title track, “I came up with the idea for this song in this park. I was living on Kensington Church Street, and I used to come into the park at the other end, and I used to, you know, watch people, and pigeons..."
An early bet for this year’s setlist, no doubt. For more info and tickets for the BST show head to www.bst-hydepark.com.
For now, though, here’s a taster of what to expect, with Blur performing Under The Westway in Hyde Park in 2012.