While touring Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach last year in the US, Damon Albarn didn’t spend his spare time wassailing with roadies and local ne’er-do-wells as he might have done in Blur’s hedonistic heyday. No: Albarn is a workaholic these days, so he set up a travelling studio and busily recorded songs on his iPad.
Originally given away to fans for free at Christmas and now receiving a proper release, the results make for a kind of musical tour diary. “Amarillo” is an attractively washed-out ballad suggestive of too many anonymous hotel rooms and Bobby Womack dons his country-soul Stetson on “Bobby in Phoenix”. The rest is fragmentary and banal, Albarn singing about sitting in diners with The Beatles playing and sampling Texan weather reports.
He should have followed the sportsman’s adage: what goes on tour stays on tour.