World, meet Damon Albarn. Chances are you already know and listen to his music even if you don’t recognize the name. He wears many musical masks and while his compositions are widely heard Damon Albarn the man, the name sits back obscured in the background. Albarn is the mastermind behind Blur and the most successful virtual cartoon group of all time, Gorillaz. He has also been involved in many additional collaborations over the years.
Now, at age 46, he has stripped away all the masks and released his first proper solo album. Everyday Robots (Warner Bros.) concerns itself with the modern world and the social alienation caused by the overuse of technology. The title track is about how we’re all robots glued to our phones. Albarn delivers the lyrics over piano and sparse strings. His other musical interests also shine through, especially his love of African melodies and choirs on “Mr. Tembo.” “Lonely Press Play” is about the comfort you can get from the companionship of a song. The music on most tracks consists of understated piano and electronic percussion. This isn’t Blur and this isn’t Gorillaz. It is Damon Albarn wearing his Damon Albarn mask for the first time in decades. If you like his earlier work, you’ll like this album.