This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Right from the start, Blur’s studio album Think Tank raises more red flags than the Chinese army during a military parade.
First, there’s the absence of guitarist Graham Coxon, who bolted midway through recording. Why? Well, meet the next red flag — Norman (Fatboy Slim) Cook, who occupied the producer’s chair for a few tracks. Flag No. 3? The first bloody song, a rambling, seven-minute dance-funk jam with singer Damon Albarn blathering like a drunkard in the pub at closing time.
Needless to say, this is not your older brother’s Blur album. Groove-oriented, electronica-based and loose, most of these 13 cuts find Albarn and co. jettisoning songcraft and substance for style and ambience. The grooves are meditative and langourous. The lyrics are reflective and repetitive. The synthesizers squelch distorted ooze. And the producers — who also include William Orbit — seem to spend more time twiddling knobs than trying to structure on these half-baked tracks. There are a few upbeat moments like the glam-punk of Crazy Beat (ironically, one of the Fatboy tracks) and We’ve Got A File On You, but really, Coxon may have said it best when he called Think Tank “underdeveloped and tech-y.” Bottom line: It’s nothing to whoo-hoo about.