This reminds me of a former girlfriend who used to live in a vast three- or four-storey Victorian house in Huddersfield. If we ever ate or cooked in the basement kitchen, we would listen to this album – the only album she had in that room, on cassette. It was probably my first experience with the album, given that the hype surrounding its release and the press-fuelled war with Oasis had completely passed me by.
The reason I prefer Parklife to this is probably the themes involved – I can relate to the Kinks-like Englishness of Parklife, but I have trouble relating to the desolation and loneliness that permeates through The Great Escape.
I also have a big problem with the reverse of the sleeve, where the four band members are dressed as estate agents or stockbrokers. It has to be one of the lamest band photographs I’ve ever seen (except maybe this one). Albarn actually looks like a woman! The only thing he’s missing is a pair of pearl earrings. This might have been funny at the time, but looking back having this photo on the back of one of your most popular albums can be dangerous. It might not turn Blur fans off the band but it definitely wouldn’t make non-Blur fans want to listen the band.
Love the front cover though.
Hit: Country House
Hidden Gem: Best Days