The Good, The Bad & The Queen

Starting life as a Damon Albarn solo project, The Good, The Bad and The Queen evolved into a supergroup that explored English identity in all its cranky, eccentric, faded glory, creating soundtracks for an increasingly lost and confused nation. Blur front man Albarn had originally begun working on material with producer Danger Mouse, but after featuring on legendary Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen's 'Home Cooking' album, he began thinking more about London's different communities and trading ideas with The Clash bassist Paul Simonon. The Verve guitarist Simon Tong, who had previously toured with Albarn and Blur, completed the line-up, and their instinctive, delicate jam sessions provided an atmospheric, experimental backdrop for Albarn's evocative odes to England's quirks and quibbles. Though they offered no official band name, their debut album 'The Good, The Bad and The Queen' in 2007 was acclaimed as one of the best of the year and sounded like a barbed, bitter-sweet mix of The Kinks, Ian Dury, The Specials and Banksy. The members continued working together in various guises, but it took the result of the Brexit referendum to fully spark them into life again, and after a decade apart they finally recorded second album 'Merrie Land' with legendary producer Tony Visconti in 2018. Dubbed by Simonon as "modern folk music", the band patched together a melancholy portrait of England's lost music hall nostalgia, fairground kitsch and crumbling, medieval nobility, summing up their take on current events by describing the country as undergoing an "Anglo-Saxostentialist crisis".

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