Love Travels at Illegal Speeds
Always the soft-spoken talent to bandmate Damon Albarn’s ego-driven vision, Graham Coxon dissolved the partnership before the sessions for Blur’s underachieving Think Tank album. His role in one of the biggest UK bands of the ’90s became quickly apparent—Think Tank missed the inventive cool of Coxon’s licks, which had guided Blur to Britpop glory and eventual American indie-influenced credibility. Coxon saved the best riffs for his first post-Blur album, 2004’s Happiness in Magazines, an unabashed return to his Britpop roots when his previous solo material was nothing more than barely listenable lo-fi. The record earned Coxon a newfound stature in the new British indie landscape as forefather to the world of Ferdinands and Kaisers. He ups the ante with Love Travels at Illegal Speeds, which in terms of quality and substance can be taken as a chinned thumb to his former cohorts. Opener and first single “Standing on My Own Again” kicks off with a staccato riff and breaks into Coxon’s best power-pop effort since “Song 2.” The rest is the catchiest and most cohesive material Coxon has worked on in almost a decade. Part-Buzzcocks, part-The Jam with a dash of Parklife-era Blur, even the ballads are great—closer “See a Better Day” is the heartbreaker Albarn wishes he could still write.