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Pop - Released October 20, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released October 13, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released July 14, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released May 5, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released May 5, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released March 13, 2006 | Parlophone UK

Since Graham Coxon began his solo career with deliberate obscurist, alienating indie rock, it was easy to miss his transition back to the pop skills that he extravagantly displayed as the guitarist for Blur, but 2004's Happiness in Magazines was a full-bodied, full-throttle pronouncement that he had returned to the music that made his mark -- and it was damn good too, filled with tight pop songwriting and barbed-wire guitar. Its 2006 follow-up Love Travels at Illegal Speeds betters it in every respect, upping the ante in both its sound and songs. Coxon's writing is taut and precise. Where his earlier solo records felt a little haphazard, as if he was trying to rein in his natural talent for hooks, he lets them accumulate here and lets them build; consequently, this is music that has a bright immediate impact in its tunefulness, but repetition reveals how well-constructed it is. And those repeated listens don't dull the appeal of Love Travels at Illegal Speeds. Much of this is taut, tantalizing pop -- grounded in the melodicism of British Invasion but played with the nervy precision of art-punk -- and while Coxon doesn't work with much more than guitars, bass, drums and harmonies, he finds a variety of lively rhythms and unpredictable textures that not only make this sound fresh, but reveals new sounds upon repeated place. Coxon's ambitions on Love Travels at Illegal Speeds may not be grand -- he has simply made a punky pop album (which is different than punk-pop) -- but his execution is exceptional, which makes this a very appealing album. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released February 24, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released February 24, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released February 24, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released January 6, 2006 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released August 10, 1998 | Parlophone UK

Graham Coxon had often said he felt the loose, jagged, American-indie sound of Blur's self-titled album was "his" more so than the band's other members -- The Sky Is Too High, released between Blur and its follow-up, 13, lends credence to this statement. Most of the record is drum-less, consisting of oddly slanted constructions of electric and acoustic guitars in Coxon's trademark style (quirky, sloppy riffs and arpeggios shooting all over the fretboard) -- the real magic is the way this approach works so perfectly on strange minimal ballads like "In a Salty Sea" and "Waiting," the sorts of constructions Blur shied away from until their self-titled release. The resulting songs are reminiscent of certain pre-Blur tracks (Modern Life Is Rubbish's "Miss America," most notably), but Coxon's low-fi, personal and decidedly non-pop approach makes this sound work as a little world unto itself, rather than a brief excursion on a thoroughly pop record. On the rare tracks where Coxon switches to a driving, noisy full-band arrangement, things are equally slanted and interesting -- since The Sky Is Too High is essentially a side project, and therefore tends to restrict itself to a small, bedroom quality, one has to wonder what a proper solo release from Coxon would sound like. ~ Nitsuh Abebe
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Pop - Released August 13, 2004 | Parlophone UK