Awkward popsters, Mods, music- hall throwbacks, Blur may well be the last truly British band you will ever know, as Garry Mulholland discovers from lead Blurster DAMON ALBARN.

e had only three things to say in our first interviews: We’re great we’re not an indie band and don’tjudge us now ~judge us in four years’ time. At least now we’ve done something that lives up to my big mouth.’

Damon Albarn has a right to enjoy his revenge. His band. Blur. have been dismissed as ‘baggy’ bandwagon-jumpers. shoe-gazing saddoes. pretty-boy dilettantes and perennial also-rans by knowing critics for those four long

years. They‘ve been kicked about by the business. bowled out by bad management and passed over by a disinterested public. Their re-emergence last year as America—hating nouveau- mods was initially dismissed as desperation. But through it all Damon kept on insisting his band were England’s 1i nest. slagging off the opposition with increasing ferocity. The band‘s reputation for drink-fuelled excess. and Damon‘s relationship with Justine from press darlings Elastica. provided the music press with a constant supply of gossip. Particularly as Damon reserved his most vitriolic put-downs for the ubiquitous Suede. whose lead singer. Brett Anderson. had previously been involved with Justine. That was Blur all over. Great laugh. Good press. Zilch success.

‘You can hear The Kinks completely in what we do. And

what can you heat in The Kinks? Music hall.’

Until now. Firstly there was ‘Girls And Boys‘. a masterful Euro-disco pastiche with a chorus from chant-a-long hell and wry lyrics about Club 18—30 holiday shag—fests. lt conquered the very people it affectionately larnpooned and paved the way for Park/{fix a superbly~conceived album full of humour. pathos. monstrous melodies and astonishing musical detail. A set of vignettes on Greater London‘s struggle for sanity from the sleepy suburbs to the wild West End it is skilfully crafted character comedy on a par with Madness’s finer moments. and now everyone wants a piece of Blur.

lf Damon is gloating though. he certainly hides it well. As he slumps sleepily across from me in the EMI press office. bleary—eyed from a

The List 6—19 May 1994