"Hardcore Blur fans and Coxon fans may disagree, but overall A+E is a fairly uninspired and disappointing effort from a musician who can offer, and has done so in the past, something a lot better than this."
Blur guitarist Graham Coxon has returned with his eighth solo effort and it's average. The album itself is okay, but there are no standout songs and it all seems to run together by the end.
A+E has come out around the same time as his former bandmate and Blur frontman Damon Albarn's soundtrack album, Dr Dee, and his funky collaborative effort, Rocket Juice & The Moon. It is impossible not to compare the albums and Coxon loses out on both counts – compared to both Albarn creations A+E sounds tired and uninspired. The songs on A+E don't sound terribly original and Coxon doesn't ever seem to bring anything new to the table. The drum machine backing detracts from all of the songs, making them sound dated. Opener, What'll It Take, starts with good intentions, but by the end this reviewer was glad it was finished. There are a few good songs – The Truth is better than average, the bass-driven ballad Knife In The Cast is great and something different, and Seven Naked Valleys has potential, but milks the riff for too long. Although Coxon has previously been lauded (and rightly so) as an excellent guitarist, he chooses not to show off on this release, keeping every song and riff simple.
Hardcore Blur fans and Coxon fans may disagree, but overall A+E is a fairly uninspired and disappointing effort from a musician who can offer, and has done so in the past, something a lot better than this. As Albarn has recently stated it's unlikely that Blur will be recording any new material down the track, so one can only hope that Coxon picks up his game on his next release.