After years spent supplying noisy guitar hooks to Blur in a vain attempt to steer the band toward an aesthetic more akin to Pavement than Brit pop -- releasing three reckless, barely listenable solo discs and distancing himself from his previous bandmates in an exaggerated tabloid manner -- Graham Coxon offers up an astonishingly brilliant disc that sounds more than a bit like...Blur. Some of the appeal of Love Travels at Illegal Speeds can be attributed to the production acumen of Stephen Street, who helmed most of the Blur catalogue, as well as Happiness in Magazines, the similarly attuned predecessor to Illegal. But it's Coxon's melancholic writing and angular fretwork, all loosely centered on the fragile twisted nature of love and lust, that impress the most on the album. Standout tracks such as "I Don't Wanna Go Out," "Don't Let Your Man Know" and "You Always Let Me Down" throw calculation and acrimony to the wind, and rock with abandon.
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