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(Credit: Steve Gullick)


Graham Coxon's The WAEVE issue a disappointing debut single 'Something Pretty'

Graham Coxon’s The WAEVE issue a disappointing debut single ‘Something Pretty’

Blur guitarist Graham Coxon has built up a tidy collection of guitar hooks in his solo trajectory, but there’s been a short supply of collaborative efforts he has issued to the public which features another vocalist. There was his wistful ‘This Old Town’, done in conjunction with Paul Weller; there was his Spanish interpolations with the cast of Fresh Meat; and there was his gorgeous rendition of ‘Tender’, sung onstage in 2013 beside fellow guitarists Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher. Given the nature of his eclectic nature, his collaborations with idiosyncratic singer Rose Elinor should blow all these songs off the radar. It doesn’t.

Now, that’s a high bar to contend with, and Elinor does produce some moments of tremendous self-expression, but it’s at the cost of the work in question, and Coxon’s guitar arpeggios leap in and out of the mix, but the finished result is ultimately murky, flitting neither within the realms of fantastic or feeble, but landing somewhere within the “cool ice water” Derek Smalls insists is his contributions to the band.

The WAEVE (as the duo refer to themselves) were formed on the basis of their “shared love of English folk music, storytelling and the associated landscapes of this beleaguered island”. If there is a pastoral backdrop, it doesn’t come into this track, capturing a more lurid cinematic soundscape, creating an impassioned backdrop that is more European than British. The duo’s wearisome, whimsical approach to music could well work in the future, if the pastoral paintings are brought to the forefront of the mix. It sounds like a cross between Genesis and Yes, but if there is ambition and grandeur, it’s not on this track.

And yet the song never lives up to its ambition, creating a track that sounds more like a warm-up to the album that is due to follow, and if the songs follow the potential that the work in question could carry greater weight when it is put in a grand canon of work, as the lyrics and musical hooks create something grander in general. But this track feels limp, showing little of the invention or giddy Englishness that the band boast themselves capable of. And with any luck, if they play their cards right, they can produce a duet that stands up with the anthems Coxon spearheaded with Weller and Gallagher. And that, readers, will be an album worth listening to.