Bye Bye. Wave goodbye. Blur left for a trip, and went very far. Their goal is very high this time, today's motto of Damon and the boys is: Space is the place, in honour of Sun Ra, who is about to become a "saint" these days. He is the guru of space-rock, but is only one of the many influences you can find in "13" 'thirteen songs.
An album that furthers the path just sketched with "Blur", the album of the "american reinvention", as someome said at the time, taking it to the extreme consequences. Weird guitars, even weirder keyboards, murmurs, silence and sudden noises, acustic interludes, grins and grimaces: things that leave you bewildered to say the least. You listen to the thirteen songs in question and you find right about everything: Rolling Stones, Faust, Fall, Sonic Youth, Tortoise and.....even Blur, but in small doses.
Willian Orbit produced it, having really great fun, we presume, he turns it upsidedown, he fiddles with it, and he puts something of himself into it as well, in the end. The merit, the great merit of "13" is that it sounds like an intelligent record, far from unuseful pretentiousness. It is a work from a group that has gone down a new path, with a great deal of courage, and wasn't frightened to do it, in the name of Changing, always driven by impulses and deep motivation , and not by mere aesthetic choices.
Don't get wrong footed by the "easy" and irresistible gospel of "Tender", inside you find even better: "Swamp Song" and it's irrestitible guitars, the dissonant and melancholic "1992", the acustic "Mellow Song", and the hommage to Robert Wyatt of "Caramel", or Damon crooning in the fantastic "No distance left to run".
A far cry from the grey old Engalnd, Blur have discovered that there is a whole new world outside, ready to be explored. When you possess the artistic capabilities and the intelligence to do it with this class, the lesson you learn from it it's clear: you can grow up without growing old.
Translated by Fran Rossi