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Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows by Damon Albarn

Damon Albarn

Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows

Release Date: Nov 12, 2021

Genre(s): Pop/Rock

Record label: Transgressive


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Album Review: Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows by Damon Albarn

Excellent, Based on 6 Critics

The Line of Best Fit - 90
Based on rating 9/10

The album opens up with its title track, and there is an immediate sense of confronting an uncomfortable sad truth - "It's fruitless for me to mourn you, but who can help mourning," Damon sings delicately. There is an eerie, almost spooky quality that begins here and artfully winds in and out of the record while looping around the more fast paced tracks such as "Royal Morning Blue" and "The Tower of Montevideo". It's fair to say that The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows grapples with some big themes, ones that can be hard to do suitable justice artistically, but Albarn, with the assistance of an orchestra and a considerably poetic songwriting style, manages to tap into the unbearable sensation of loss and isolation and offers some hopeful respite without appearing contrived.

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Under The Radar - 80
Based on rating 8/10

Throughout his decades-long career in music, from the lead singer of Britpop's famed Blur to being the mastermind behind the collaborative Gorillaz, Damon Albarn has managed to maintain a global influence. Although such inspiration has taken varied forms with each passing year, Albarn's artistry focuses on a constant global discovery of music that frequently crosses over into his own. As a distinctly recognizable vocalist, some of his songs may sound similar on the surface, but his willingness to constantly strive to grow sets new material apart in his vast discography.

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musicOMH.com - 80
Based on rating 4

Lawrence (Hayward) possibly has the strangest career trajectory of any British musician. Having started with Felt, a tremulous indie outfit exuding literate sensitivity whose '80s albums only sound more dingily fitting the more your old tapes warp and decay, he moved on to Denim, who traded in rinky-dink synthesised novelty songs about tampons and tinned vegetables. Nobody saw this coming.

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Exclaim - 70
Based on rating 7/10

What's Damon Albarn to do with a pandemic? Blur hasn't performed since a one-off gig for one of Albarn's Africa Express events in London in 2019, the seemingly pandemic-proof Gorillaz are busy celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut, and the Good the Bad & the Queen is a wrap; how about a solo album inspired by 17th century poetry then? Enter The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows. Gleaned from a line in the John Clare poem "Love and Memory," the album title is alluded to in its first track, which offers a contemporary adaptation of the first two stanzas in Clare's poem. For Albarn, that mostly means swapping out Clare's formal thous and thees, though he does skip ahead to cut and paste some lines from Clare's seventh stanza ("The year has its winter / As well as its May / The sweetest leave us / And the fairest decay") before landing on the words that open the third -- the same Albarn's album and the first track borrow their titles from.

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DIY Magazine
Opinion: Excellent

Iceland has been a running fixation for Damon for many years now, since an inaugural visit first provoked a swerve from the Britpop of Blur's early years to the darker bent of their self-titled 1997 opus. At the start of 2021, he was granted Icelandic citizenship, and his latest was intended as an orchestral piece inspired by his new second home. Since making that initial plan, the singer clearly couldn't resist adding a few earworms in for good measure: not only are many of the tracks here vocal driven, there are some single-worthy hooks too.

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Clash Music
Opinion: Fairly Good

A global crisis was never going to keep a music-making machine like Damon Albarn from doing what he loves best. Assembling the techni-colour collab fest which was 'Song Machine, Season 1: Strange Timez' over 2020, the British institution was also brewing up something far more intimate during the lockdowns that affected us all. Approached early last year by Lyon's FĂȘte des Lumieres to premiere a new project, Albarn set off to his beloved Reykjavik to get the creative juices flowing.

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