Damon Albarn's new project crackles with life and melody throughout. It might be as grubby and mysterious as the London it evokes, but it's also as animated and vibrant as the streets around Portobello Market it comes from.
Everything about U218 Singles, from the radio-programmers tracklisting and disjointed running order, to the cheap, mulleted photographs that stare out from the sleeve, gives the impression of a compilation that has been cobbled together in a greedy hurry.
Riot City Blues sounds like it's been made by a band on rock and roll autopilot. It's a record of pastiche pieces, without the sense of impending danger or collapse that makes truly great rock and roll so thrilling.