As promised, the boys of Blur ripped through two new songs, "Under The Westway" and "The Puritan," on Monday (July 2) in a live performance from an undisclosed rooftop in London that was livestreamed through a link on the group's Twitter account. Both tracks were subsequently given official lyric videos and made available at digital retailers.
Performed an hour apart from each other on Monday night in London, "Under The Westway" and "The Puritan" offer two different angles on the veteran U.K. group, with "Westway" presenting a more operatic, piano-driven sound and "Puritan" fielding a more tongue-in-cheek vibe from Blur's Britpop glory days. "The Puritan" also owns Damon Albarn's best line in the two new tracks: "I'm waltzing on an amazing pulse/In a pornographic sea."
"Under The Westway" and "The Puritan" were specifically written for the band's show at Hyde Park on Aug. 12, in a performance that will mark the finale of the 2012 Olympic Games. In an interview with Britain's Channel 4, Albarn explained why the group decided to premiere the two new tracks online one month ahead of the performance.
"From my perspective, not having a Twitter account and not being very savvy about things like that the chance of just playing your new music and then for it to be out immediately and for there to be none of that sort of process of reviews and anticipation… It's very natural, it's what it is, it's direct to the people who're interested and they're allowed to make their mind up entirely on their own as opposed to this ridiculous filtration that stuff seems to have to go through, or used to go through because it is essentially a dying form," says Albarn.
A 7-inch release featuring both of the new tracks is set for Aug. 6 on Parlophone. The band has not indicated whether "Under The Westway" and "The Puritan" will serve as the basis for a new album, Blur's first since 2003's "Think Tank."