GRAHAM COXON- Happiness in Magazines

This is a man who I was in love with during the entirety of my teenage years. Not only is he cute, (I'm sorry but he is!), but, most importantly, he makes playing the guitar a thing of wonder. So, of course, he needs no introduction, although no danger of excessive use of the "B" word here. Because this is certainly the emergence of what appears to be a peaceful, happy and extremely accomplished Graham Coxon; the sound is bigger, beefier and something of a force to be reckoned with. If ever there was an Essex version of The Incredible Hulk, he would be it. Or perhaps Wolverine from The X Men.

However, I don't mean that the music is scary. Quite the opposite; it isn't as angry or snarling as his previous four solo releases, although that's not to say that he's gone soft. In fact, the first two tracks are among those which particularly ooze pure churning punk rock, something still at the core of the majority of these songs, his voice sounding stronger and more deservedly cocky than ever before. But this record is all about showing the world that there are many strings to Graham's, er, bow. From the bluesy strut of "Girl Done Gone" and the almost-country sound of "Are You Ready" to the feel-good reluctant adoration of "Bottom Bunk", which fans of that band he used to be in will enjoy reminiscing to, the album is a mixture of every damn human emotion, surging out from all directions, and, for forty minutes or so, dragging you into the world of this elusive of all British talents.

I also don't mind admitting that possibly the most surprising track, "All Over Me", with its sweeping strings, luscious guitar and little-boy-lost angelic vocal, made my heart sink enough for me to cry like a red wrinkly newborn, not to mention recent single "Bittersweet Bundle of Misery", which sweetly transcends anything which went before, making me want to shake my booty, swoon, sob and grin til my head explodes, more so than the certain other song it has been compared to; you know, the one about a strong hot drink that keeps you awake and an electrical box in the corner of most rooms. Whilst best lyric, and most lovely use of harmony in a song, goes to the swanky, swaggering "Hopeless Friend" where it is proclaimed "Wash your hair; you smell like a goat". Did make me chuckle.

So you get the idea. This is an album I want to hear again and again and there is honestly not a song on it that I do not love with every ounce of my amazing-songwriting-appreciating being. The boy has done good, proving to himself, and everyone else, just how good he is, and always was. This is the Graham Coxon we all knew was in there and a big hip-hip hooray that he's back.

Anna Claxton