Albums to watch

Merrie Land

The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Merrie Land

Second studio album from alt-rock supergroup (Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon, Tony Allen and Simon Tong) produced by Tony Visconti

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Studio 13
UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 9.0 |   God Is In The TV

    The music and words of Merrie Land hit so many targets, and with such precision, by turns grotesque and horribly emotionally exposed, that it’s never less than utterly compelling
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  2. 8.3 |   Consequence Of Sound

    The humble supergroup offer a groove-happy message of fear, love, and measured hope
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  3. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    On this near-perfect second album, Albarn yet again proves to be streets ahead of the pack
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  4. 8.0 |   Evening Standard

    Downbeat musical feel allows for greater focus on the lyrics, which mourn a country that is changing for the worse
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  5. 8.0 |   music OMH

    How indeed we did get here is something that will no doubt be puzzled over for years to come, but Merrie Land feels like the perfect soundtrack for these uncertain, worrying times
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  6. 8.0 |   Mojo

    If any art is currently encapsulating the sense of "wrongness" abroad in our land, this is it. Print edition only

  7. 8.0 |   Q

    Works best when these sounds and visions come together in an impressionistic haze. Print edition only

  8. 8.0 |   Clash

    Albarn, Simonon, Allen and Tong end an eleven year absence with a stirring reflection on a wounded nation
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  9. 8.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Damon Albarn really knows when to pick his moments – but he’s outdone himself with this new record
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  10. 8.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    As a comment on polarised Britain, ‘Merrie Land’ is a relatively muted gesture, just as unlikely to turn hearts and minds as it is inspiring to those opposing Brexit. As a mirror held up to the country at a time of crisis by one of its sharpest observers, though, it’s a record of note, full of intrigue, intimacy and calmly assertive, greatly needed dissent
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  11. 8.0 |   The Independent

    Canadian crooner does what he does best on his 'most romantic album to date', while Damon Albarn's supergroup release their first album in 11 years
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  12. 8.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    One of the quiet highlights of the year
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  13. 7.5 |   Pitchfork

    On its first album in 11 years, the Damon Albarn-fronted supergroup tackles Brexit head on. In his “Anglo-Saxistentialist” reckoning, false nostalgia imperils a true vision of British identity
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  14. 7.0 |   PopMatters

    As a reflection on Brexit, the Good, the Bad & the Queen's Merrie Land succeeds through musicianship whilst fear and concern permeate its messages on England and Englishness amidst uncertainty and departure
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  15. 7.0 |   Uncut

    There's a fine line between the sincerely wistful and contemplative and the nostalgic and morose, but Merrie Land understands where the borders are and stays within them. Print edition only

  16. 6.0 |   The FT

    Damon Albarn’s supergroup returns to explore a changing Britain
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  17. 6.0 |   The Guardian

    The combined presence of Albarn’s organ and flattened voice, Paul Simonon’s dubby bass, and occasional horns gives songs such as Nineteen Seventeen and The Truce of Twilight something of the mood of the Specials’ Ghost Town, but without that song’s almost hallucinatory clarity
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  18. 6.0 |   NME

    An album that plods through Brexit Britain at a meandering pace
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  19. 2.0 |   The Arts Desk

    A directionless dirge with tuneless, little boy lost vocals that is only likely to engage the discerning listener for long enough to reach for the “off” button
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