Blur return to their soft side with new song 'Under the Westway.' The ballad is one of two tracks they released online yesterday -- the other being the energetic and electronic 'The Puritan.' In contrast, 'Under the Westway' is thoroughly and intimately analog, to the point that frontman Damon Albarn says that he's "praying for the day that we turn off the machines."

The piano-driven knee-shaker calls back to the London band's earlier heartfelt hankerings -- it's a milk carton away from a 'Coffee and TV' level of adorability. The song has classic aw-shucks-I'm-sorry dude-isms, including "on a permanent basis, I apologize" as well as a crestfallen calling out, "Hallelujah, singing out loud, singing to ya." Throughout the listen, Albarn takes the role of the unheeded prophet, feeling "lost at sea" for "a world under a spell." Though lyrically downcast, those bells and harmonies are all hope, lending the song a certain kind of summer evening comfort.

The duo of tracks have been released in the run up to the 2012 Olympics. Blur will be headlining an August 15 concert London's Hyde Park, along with ska legends the Specials and dance rock pioneers New Order. That's what you call a proper showcase of British culture.




Listen to Blur, 'Under the Westway'