The Good, The Bad & The Queen, Merrie Land (Warner Music) **

YOU’D have got short odds on Damon Albarn, a very British wordsmith, being front of centre on the first high-profile Brexit album.

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – the so-called supergroup he formed with ex-Clash bassist Paul Simonon, erstwhile Verve guitarist Simon Tong and Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen – might never have released another album after their self-titled, London-obsessed 2007 debut, or might simply have restrained their songwriting within the M25, had it not been for the UK cutting loose from the EU.

But Brexit has apparently given them a new platform to analyse British identity, or at least that’s what they’d like to see themselves as doing. In fact, Merrie Land is more about observation rather than exploration, which has always been Albarn’s stronger suit.

At times, it’s almost a much more downbeat version of Blur’s Parklife, crammed with cultural and geographical references weaved into recognisable, crafty and often charming lyrical form, against a musical backdrop that reminds you of a run-down fairground; less theatrical, more music hall, but a music hall where something sinister is lurking in the wings.

Even if you’re a fan of Albarn’s wordplay, however, you’ll struggle to come away from Merrie Land feeling anything of real import has actually been said. These aren’t angry young men, after all, and a bunch of middle-aged musicians telling us they’re sad about the state of things – more than two years into that state of things – does not exactly make for the album of the times that it was presumably intended to be.

With the music generally being one-dimensional, even incidental – only really carrying any weight or spark on the title track, The Great Fire and the excellent new-folk closer The Poison Tree – Merrie Land is more journal than statement, proving that relevance doesn’t automatically equal impact. Maybe they’re saving their best stuff for the transition period.