Ah Graham Coxon’s difficult eighth album! Difficult only because, unlike the folky peregrinations of his last outing Spinning Top and the bug-eyed freak outs of Happiness in Magazines, A+E is a far less accessible affair. It comes with less fuzzed up (and loved up) fret board gymnastics and a lot of ennui, atonal tunings, and the metallic clank and thud of Joy Division. It seems no amount of battered Converse, floppy fringes and arty specs can lift the gloom as Coxon rasps robotically through Meet and Drink and Pollinate, which ends somewhere between Blur’s unloved song Jets and The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. The industrial thrum of The Truth hammers home its message while Knife in The Cast sets him adrift on a wasteland of astringent guitar modulation and a bass line that sounds like its being played on rusty cables. But despite the industro clang of the music you can tell Coxon is most likely smilingly boyishly under it all. Damon keeps ruling it out but if the best guitarist of his generation (according to Stephen Street) takes this kind of game to possible new Blur album it’ll be an intriguing listen. Forget Coffee and TV this is more like arsenic and a broken Amstrad.

Alan Corr