Graham Coxon The Kiss of Morning

Things have been very crazy in the Blur camp this year. Norman "Fatboy Slim” Cook is producing their next record, Damon Albarn’s ego has blown up to the size of a bling-bling rapper’s and, of course, their guitarist left. Yet Graham Coxon doesn’t seem to be in much of a bother. In fact, The Kiss of Morning, his fourth and best solo album so far, shows an impressive level of confidence that was always hard to find in his work with Blur. The 13 tracks show his liking for accentuating the use of distortion and fuzz with his guitar, blues and country, and most importantly, his ability to tell his side of the story. Even though there is a track or two that may or may not be about the falling out with his former band, it’s the moments that show he’s clean and sober, like on "Mountain Of Regret,” that really showcase his ability to be a strong solo artist. Featuring B.J. Cole on pedal steel, the song is pure Americana, with one of the best head-nodding rhythms ever. His departure from one of the world’s bigger bands hasn’t seemed to have affected him musically, and that’s good, because Coxon is an underrated gem of a songwriter who can finally step up to the spotlight that he’s always put on hold. (Transcopic)