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Great Escape
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Performer Notes
  • Blur: Damon Albarn (vocals, piano, organ, synthesizer, handclaps); Graham Coxon (acoustic & electric guitars, banjo, saxophone, handclaps, background vocals); Alex James (bass, handclaps, background vocals); Dave Rowntree (drums, handclaps, background vocals).
  • Additional personnel: Cathy Gillat (vocals); The Right On Ken Livingstone (spoken vocals); Stephen Street (handclaps); Angela Murrell, Teresa Jane Davis (background vocals).
  • The Duke Strings Quartet: Louisa Fuller, Rick Koster (violin); John Metcalfe (viola); Ivan McCermoy (cello).
  • The Kick Horns: Simon Clarke, Tim Sanders (saxophone); Roddy Lorimer (trumpet); Neil Sidwell (trombone).
  • Recorded at Maison Rouge and Townhouse Studios, London, England between January and May 1995.
  • Beyond British and sensationally sociological, Blur and singer/songwriter Damon Albarn weave tales of stifling middle class ennui into clever pop vignettes. THE GREAT ESCAPE is another demonstration of Blur's unique intelligence, more of Albarn's witty commentary, and substantial proof that the group may be bordering on genius.
  • As usual, Albarn's senses are keen on THE GREAT ESCAPE. His ear for melody and sound textures shines throughout the album's fifteen brilliant tracks. The ska horns and spy soundtrack guitar riffing on "Fade Away" exemplify Blur's knack for pop music, yet elevate the song beyond simple genre-fication, with a dignity reserved for the orchestra pit. The snide humor behind "Mr. Robinson And His Quango" rubs shoulders with the desperation of "He Thought Of Cars," all the while dwelling on what they hope to escape. It's this nagging dread that carries the album--the sense that the people Albarn describes are as desperate to find meaning as Albarn is to capture it within the song's narrative.
  • THE GREAT ESCAPE may not turn into Blur's great American breakthrough album, but if you're not thrown by Albarn's overwhelmingly British aesthetic, it just might be enough to take you away from the confines of your day to day doldrums.
Professional Reviews
Spin (11/95, pp.124-125) - 6 - Reasonably Good - "...Blur turns the rotating-robot staccato silverware clank of manlier Limeys like Elastica...into dance oriented pop muzik. When it's swirling fast and busy, it's wonderful..."

Q (12/99, p.84) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."

Q (2/96, p.62) - Included in Q's 50 Best Albums of 1995.

Q (10/95, p.110) - 5 Stars - Indispensable - "...THE GREAT ESCAPE's rich tapestry is matched by music of kaleidoscopic surprises--half punk and half pop-psychedelic in its influences, restlessly innovative in its execution..."

Melody Maker (12/23-30/95, pp.66-67) - Ranked #10 on Melody Maker's list of 1995's `Albums Of The Year.'

Melody Maker (9/9/95, p.33) - Bloody Essential - "...Blur's fourth album (theirs is now the most interesting career since Joy Division metamorphosed into New Order) is more robotic than rock, less Kinks than Kraftwerk....Blur understand the geometry of the song, and the basic principles of pop, better than anyone today....The experimental hits just keep on coming..."

NME (Magazine) (12/23-30/95, pp.22-23) - Ranked #9 in NME's `Top 50 Albums Of The Year' for 1995.

NME (Magazine) (9/9/95, p.46) - 9 (out of 10) - "...If Noel Oasis' strength derives from an ambition to be the John Lennon of his generation, then Blur want to be Lennon AND McCartney. Which means THE GREAT ESCAPE is so rammed with tunes, ideas, emotions, humour, tragedy, farce, and edgy beauty that's it's utterly beyond contemporary compare..."
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