Graham Coxon – The Golden D

3 out of 5

Produced by: Graham Coxon

Label: Transcopic

Graham Coxon’s initial solo foray, The Sky is Too High, somewhat matched the “side project” template, achieving loose, raw song sketches that were a nice reminder of the jangly backbone to Blur.  While Golden D is a much louder album, it still reaffirms this concept, albeit infused with a punkish Sod-off mentality that may or may not have been a response to the increasingly wandering tendencies of Blur frontman Damon Albarn, as heard on the previous year’s 13.

From the get-go, with the stuttering, riff-laden Jamie Thomas, Golden D seems to have a rock-yer-socks-off intention – which it achieves – while not forgoing Coxon’s mindfulness of structure.  The passion and volume continue through the next few tracks, and then we get to the first somewhat more traditional song, a perhaps telling cover of Mission of Burma’s Fame and Fortune, perhaps also tellingly followed by the short and manic My Idea of Hell.  These first five songs equate to a rush; a mini-masterpiece mash-up of noise and rhythm that functions as the anti-(that year’s version of)-Blur.

This proves hard to maintain for an album, though.  The throttle is dialed back for 7+ minute instrumental slow-burner Lake – which gets more appreciable on subsequent listens but is still a momentum killer – and then gets followed up with a scattering of tracks that again feel like sketches, or random ideas – like the kitschy Oochy Woochy.  The album regains its focus with a second MoB cover, That’s When I Reach For My Revolver, and ends on a good note with Don’t Think About Always, but the uneven structure of the album on the whole makes it a rare replay rotation.

However, Golden D did let us know that Coxon was still sitting on a bundle of ideas, and that likely whatever he would produce next would have its selection of mini-classics as well.