The members of Blur have shed light on the cover of their latest album, “The Ballad Of Darren”, as the artist and swimmer appear in the image.
The Britpop legends shared the update on their social media pages yesterday (August 21), marking one month since the release of their ninth studio album.
With the post on Instagram, bandleader Damon Albarn and drummer Dave Rowntree shared their performance behind the cover, revealing its connection to one of their live performances in 1995.
The post started with a short clip of someone holding the album, before it was lowered to show her standing where the now famous image was taken: the outdoor swimming pool at Gourock, Scotland.
“The image chosen for the album cover is a shot by British photographer Martin Parr of a lone swimmer on a stormy day at Gourock Lido, Scotland, taken in 2004,” reads the second slide, which also includes a quote from Parr himself. .
“It was summer and you could see the blue of the lido, but also the gray sky that was so familiar to Scotland,” explained Parr, revealing the inspiration behind the photograph. “I thought it would make a great background. I stood there for half an hour, waiting for the right person to swim.”
As explained on a later slide, that person who swam there was a man named Ian Galt, who also shared a quote recalling why he was in the outdoor pool that day in 2004. “In 1995 I was in terrible car accident: They said. for me I might never walk again,” he explained.
” But I made it down to the pool on crutches, and for the first time I was able to move without them. It was a wonderful moment. I thought: I will not pass up an opportunity again. If I had lost the ability to. swim, what would you call a fair day at the pool?”
Blur’s own Dave Rowntree also addressed this significance, describing the image as “some kind of physical transcendence”, while Albarn took a more philosophical approach, comparing Parr’s photograph to “a representation of Dante’s Three Kingdoms”.
“The mountains are far away in the dark as you swing in the distance, the rough wild sea in the background, and the tranquility of solitude with this lone person swimming in the foreground,” he said.
“There’s also a submarine base in this photo. It’s probably the Russian ropes over there,” said Albarn, the last sentence referring to the opening song ‘The Ballad Of Darren’.
Towards the end of the post, the update also shares that the location where the image was taken has sentimental significance for Blur because, almost 10 years before Parr took the photo, the band also played a concert across the Gourock Lake Pool.
Held at the Queen’s Hall in Dunomin in 1995, the show is described as “a special moment for the local community, as the remote, obscure coastal towns chose their tour”, and includes an extract from the 1995 report on the show.
When it arrived last month, “The Ballad Of Darren” received a four-star review from NME, who described it as “memorable and moving”.
“Where their last record occasionally tried to recreate the tantrum of the mid-90s […] in ‘The Ballad…’ the band is tamed and meditative; there are moments of pure heartbreak in these songs,” he read.
“Beyond the doom, there’s something determined and vital about the way this record unfolds; you feel the whole momentum of the band moving as a unit, not just in the form of ‘The Magic Whip’.”
In other Blurry news, yesterday (August 21), the indie veterans shared a new unreleased track titled ‘Sticks And Stones’ from the new LP.
The song will be released as a bonus track on the exclusive Japanese edition of ‘The Ballad Of Darren’, and follows the band’s other two, ‘The Rabbi’ and ‘The Swan’, which were released as part of the deluxe edition of the album. .