With Blur having survived their 10-year anniversary, and with all of their members expanding their horizons in projects outside the band, 2000 finds guitarist Graham Coxon releasing The Golden D, his second solo album and successor to 1998's largely overlooked The Sky Is Too High. Coxon is the sole force behind every aspect of the work here: Save for two covers of songs by mostly forgotten punk-rockers Mission of Burma ("Fame and Fortune," "That's When I Reach for My Revolver"), he wrote all the songs, sang and played every instrument, produced the album, created the artwork for the booklet, and released it on his own label, Transcopic Records.
The album opener is a hard-core paean to Coxon's favorite skateboarder, "Jamie Thomas," and it's racked with crunching guitars, frantic, distorted vocals, and a refrain made up of the incessant repetition of Thomas' name at a barely audible level. As thrash-punk goes, it's good but hardly groundbreaking.
Next up is "The Fear" (RealAudio excerpt), the only track on the album that could have possibly appeared on a Blur record (but only on 13 and probably as a B-side at that). It's a menacing song, wavering somewhere between garage rock and goth gloom.
Then, just when it seems obvious where the album is going, the guitarist throws it all it out the window, for "Satan I Gatan"
(RealAudio excerpt), a grim, industrial, postapocalyptic urban nightmare of a romp that signals an entirely new direction for the man who followed a smiling milk carton home in the video for Blur's "Coffee & TV." Continuing into unexpected territories, there's "Oochy Woochy," (RealAudio excerpt) a lively, horn-laden jazz number that further hints that Coxon is far from a one-trick pony even if it does seem extremely out of place within the lo-fi punk aesthetic that dominates the CD.
While Graham Coxon will always be known for being part of one of
England's most important bands of the 1990s, it's hard to imagine
The Golden D as having much of an impact. Then again, there is
"My Idea of Hell," a dreadful aural assault that suits its title perfectly and effectively displays Coxon's grasp of at least one
surefire method of eternal torment: this song on repeat.