Parlophone - 2003 - 49 minutes

If you can look back at your career and view one of your biggest records as "a joke" you're either very bitter or striving for something more. With Blur it's the latter and Damon Albarn's assessment of 'Parklife' grows in your mind the more you listen to this album.

Now down to a core trio since the departure of guitarist Graham Coxon (appearing only on spooky closer 'Battery in Your Leg'), 'Think Tank' is where punk rock, world music, ballads and electro have a sitdown and come out sounding like a thirtysomething adventure and not a collection so full of its importance that it wanted to call all bases its own.

Switching between the heartfelt and humorous, it has some of the most touching songs in Blur's seven-year career, balanced out with a sense of fun on the likes of 'We've Got a File on You', 'Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Song' and the Fatboy Slim flavoured 'Crazy Beat'. Only on 'Jets', which sounds like an update of Spinal Tap's 'Jazz Odyssey' and a horror snapshot of how this album could've turned out, does the 'tank run out of gas and even then the quality of the other songs smothers the indulgence.

Albarn has described what he and his bandmates have accomplished here as "our most direct set of songs since Parklife" but the gulf in class between them says the comparison never should've been made. And if you swore you'd never buy any of their records, this is the one to prove yourself wrong to.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Ambulance - Out of Time - Crazy Beat - Good Song - On the Way to the Club - Brothers and Sisters - Caravan - We've Got a File on You - Moroccan Peoples Revolutionary Bowls Song - Jets - Gene by Gene - Battery in Your Leg