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The Good, The Bad & The Queen:: S/T (Album Review)

After you’ve been a Britpop titan, cartoon rock star and holder of the Guinness record for best-selling album (by a virtual band), your next move can be elusive. Blur singer/Gorillaz founder Damon Albarn formed his third group by scanning credits on fave albums and making some calls. Enlisting producer and Gorillaz satellite member Danger Mouse, Clash bassist Paul Simonon and Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, he created this downcast thematic follow-up to Blur’s epochal ’94 album Parklife — that is, another album about contemporary England. But unlike the rousing punk-, Kinks- and new-wave-colored mosaic of Parklife, this one sticks to sepia-toned, dub-nodding abstractions — “Over London’s bridge we must go/Where the guns burn with might and the hearts are low” — suggesting a wee-hours stroll through London on an LSD comedown. Which, given how England has changed since ’94, sounds about right. (Chris Norris)