Music

Album review | AMBIENT POP

Damon Albarn, ‘Everyday Robots’

The UK’s Damon Albarn is today’s Peter Gabriel — able to bridge many genres, from the progressive rock and hip-hop of his acts Blur and Gorillaz to various trip-hop and world music forays. I also enjoyed his operatic album, “Dr. Dee,” and his African field recordings on “Mali Music.” But the new “Everyday Robots” is a major disappointment. Clearly influenced by Brian Eno (who appears on two tracks), it is an ambient snoozefest marred by listless mood pieces. It purports to be a commentary on life in the digital age — the title track notes “we are everyday robots on our phones” — but then the robotic music buries the message. Most songs are slow piano tunes with various electronic blips and noises behind them. Eno defines this turf, but Albarn comes off as an interloper. He adds personal touches with field recordings from a school playground he once roamed in East London, but the overall effect is indulgent. He perks up with the ukelele-driven, Jack Johnson-like “Mr. Tembo” (about an elephant he met in Tanzania), but it’s not enough to rescue this project. (Out Tuesday)

STEVE MORSE

ESSENTIAL “Mr. Tembo”

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