da­mon Al­barn “in a way this is my most in­ward-look­ing record”

what took you so long to tackle a sec­ond lP?

We never re­ally lost our thread, we just needed some­thing to spark the en­gine. It’s an emo­tional re­sponse to what’s go­ing on, but that’s the magic of mu­sic – when it can tran­scend be­ing just one per­son’s feel­ings.

why does black­pool fig­ure so strongly?

I came to Black­pool late […] it was al­ways this mythic place. And I think it’s ex­tra­or­di­nary how many piers we’ve got – they’re metaphor­i­cal ten­ta­cles try­ing to reach out to the rest of the world, and so in a way they’re the last de­fence against Brexit.

You’re not an­gry on the al­bum – why not?

I have a ten­dency to­ward quiet de­spair; it’s a par­tic­u­lar po­tion and if you’re pre­pared to im­bibe it, it can make you feel quite funny. I sing about

[Eng­land] be­ing in­ward look­ing – “the realm of moles” – and in a way this is my most in­ward-look­ing record.

There’s an over­all melan­cholic tone…

I have to make a de­ci­sion when I make a record like this as to what in­stru­ment I’m go­ing to play, so I de­cided on the Lowrey. I just switched it on and the first thing that came out was the or­gan line on “Mer­rie Land”. It has that end-of-pier sad­ness and is a lit­tle bit Tales Of The Un­ex­pected.

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