The Good, the Bad & the Queen: Merrie Land review – almost-anthems for England’s dreaming

Damon Albarn

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Damon Albarn’s eclectic supergroup confront national myths on an formidable album of Brexit-era Anglicana

“This is not rhetoric, it comes from my heart,” sings Damon Albarn on the title track of this newest album by the Good, the Dangerous & the Queen. Almost 12 years on from their self-titled debut – an atmospheric ode to west London that united Conflict bassist Paul Simonon with Nigerian funk drummer Tony Allen – fellow traveller of Fela Kuti – and guitarist Simon Tong, most notably of the Verve – Albarn’s haunted supergroup have returned, like a extra urbane, slightly extra louche model of King Arthur and his knights, to an imperilled nation.

What exactly is that country, though? “Are we green, are we pleasant?” wonders Albarn bitterly, “We aren't either of those, father / We are a shaking wreck the place nothing grows / Lost within the sky-coloured oils of Merrie Land.” It’s a imaginative and prescient of Britain that crosses a Turner portray with Banksy’s Dismaland theme park.

Associated: Damon Albarn on Brexit: 'We live on this stroppy little island'

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