Popscene [CD]

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Appearing just as it did on the 12" version and later on the American release of Modern Life Is Rubbish, "Popscene" is what it always was: the instantly engaging blast of a band leaving its past behind in a frenzy of Teardrop Explodes-style horns and massive feedback melodies. The two B-sides on the CD version can't compete with it, but both have their fine points. "Mace," which appeared on all formats of "Popscene," is lyrically based on a disastrous post-gig experience in early days, and, like the A-side, has all four bandmembers at their best, Albarn offering up a quirky chorus and Coxon whipping up some fun guitar freakouts along with the lead melody. "Badgeman Brown," meanwhile, exorcised the group's obvious Syd Barrett fascination -- it was originally written for a film by Pink Floyd designer Storm Thorgeson and has something of Barrett's wayward way with melodies on his solo records.