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Blur - Leisure
Reviewed by Q, August 1991

coverWith their speedy rise to prominence in the overpopulated indie dance pop crossover zone assisted by a trio of corking single, Blur's debut fulfils a host of whispered promises and provides a wholesomely chunky consolidation of the power-packed pre-emptive single strikes. This latest bunch of floppy-fringed pop cadets in baggy clothing should consummate their burgeoning pop romance in fine style, for Leisure is a substantially stocked treasure-chest of hit singles just waiting to happen.

Cobbled together from a variety of divergent sources, Colchester's favourite sons have arrived at a distinctly English sound-beneath the thinly signposted psychedelia gauze of close-cropped harmony and electric guitars fed through a mincing machine of effects pedals lurks a selection of pin-sharp melodies, battered into shape by a roughneck post-punk edge which prevents any aberrant backsliding into a blissed-out soporific daze.

Throughout Leisure, producers Stephen Street, Mike Thorne and Steve Power and Steve Lovell achieve a neat, knowing balance between glossy pop sheen and raggedy-arsed guitar wig-out, and nowhere is this more pronounced than on the three singles: She's So High is a gorgeous melange of The Byrds-style harmony and lazily crunching power chord, whilst Bang and There's No Other Way combine fanciful skittering drumbeats with a massively memorable chorus to a dizzying effect which is scarcely diminished by radio-intensified familiarity.

A relative lack of substance in the lyric department is manfully camouflaged by singer Damon Albarn, whose languid, lethargically enunciated vocals are tossed everywhichway by depth charge drumbeats and bruising guitar. Slow Down boasts another radio-friendly amply proportioned chorus, buffeted by a storm of sizzling cymbals and eardrum-threatening feedback before the neighbours are given a well-earned break with Repetition, a pedestrian loop tape of hypnotic fuzztones.

Muskets are promptly re-primed for the splendid pop racket of Fool and the stop start rhythm and engaging sensurround rock guitar of Come Together. A small case of petty larceny is perpetrated on High Cool as Blur sneakily half-inch the guitar riff from Taxman and pump it up to a fearsome dancefloor rumble. Best is last: Wear Me Down is a glorious sonic collision of heavyweight guitar histrionics and a classically simple pop melody (the peaceful co-existence of the rough and the smooth having proved to be Blur's loud and lavishly scrawled signature). Elbowing their way rudely to the front of the queue, Blur could become a four-letter word which will richly enhance pop's limited vocabulary.

star star star star  (4/5) Paul Davies

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