Graham Coxon - Dead Bees/Brave The Storm

Hugh Worskett 28/09/2009

Rating: 4/5

I have to admit I come to this slightly biased. Blur irritated me on their recent reunion tour where they promised dramatic reinterpretations of classic songs. Instead the only difference was speed; everything was played far too fast, the result being that less upbeat songs barely hung together. For me it was a slightly scrappy and unintelligent way to approach an opportunity to present Blur's music to a brand new audience.

So, here comes Graham Coxon with a double A-side of 'Dead Bees' backed with 'Brave The Storm'. Let's see what the quality control is like on this one.

Both are acoustic guitar led tracks and 'The Brave Storm', whilst showcasing some lovely playing, is hardly daring territory. 'Dead Bees', on the other hand, is much more intriguing. It romps about the place, introverted, bluesy and paranoid, tongue lolling, pupils dilated. It's the kind of soundtrack you'd imagine Hunter S. Thompson had playing in his head when he infamously presented Jack Nicholson with a still-beating deer's heart for his birthday. In a similarly compelling display of sickness, Coxon bullies his awkward vocal harmonies into squatting above the unrelenting groove of the band, waiting for the next stab of sound to strike up at where it hurts. It's a wonderfully uncomfortable listen.

Having said that, this isn't a single. It doesn't epitomise Coxon as an artist, and the limited release (available only as a download when ordering a Graham Coxon art print) says as much. What this is, however, is a valuable opportunity to appreciate 'Dead Bees' away from the album where it has to compete with too many other show-stealers. Quality achieved.

Release date: 28/09/09