Graham Coxon Love Travels at Illegal Speeds

Having successfully severed his ties with Blur without looking back, and carving out a respectably flourishing solo career, Graham Coxon’s trajectory has only gone up in the last eight years. From the humble beginnings of 1998’s sloppy and unfocused The Sky Is Too High, Coxon has not only improved considerably as a songwriter, but he’s also found a sound that is unmistakably his. Produced by long-time Blur producer Stephen Street, Love Travels at Illegal Speeds is only the bespectacled talent’s third record to find a domestic release on this side of the pond (three others were stopped at the border because there was no label interest), but it should also be the album that puts an end to any of those label troubles from the past. Taking into account how coy an artist Coxon is, this album beams with even more confidence than 2004’s Happiness in Magazines, which felt like his most significant breakthrough in personality yet. While Love Travels may not match some of its predecessor’s standout tracks, it is consistent in its application, pushing Coxon’s extraordinary skill on the guitar and wide scope of moods. His inspiration is abundant, touching on Buzzcocks-type pop punk ("Gimme Some Love”), Nick Drake’s flute-laden folk ("Flights In the Sea (Lovely Rain)” and even his time in Blur ("Don’t Believe Anything I Say”), all without falling victim to confusion. He was always the most talented one in Blur, and Love Travels certainly proves that without question. (EMI)