Album: Gorillaz

Demon Days, PARLOPHONE
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Five years and six million album sales on, the stakes have been raised alarmingly for Damon Albarn's Gorillaz side-project. It's extraordinary, then, that this follow-up should not just surpass its predecessor, but should do so with such a carefree sense of fun and such fertile musical invention. It's very Beck-like in the way it yokes together a postmodern pop playfulness and cool gravitas, moving smoothly from the introductory noir-scape of bassoon, samples and pump organ through a series of musical strategies that cleverly avoid settling into any generic formula. A blend of funky wah-wah clavinet and waspish synth gives tracks like "Dirty Harry", "All Alone" and "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead" the cast of a more humanist Daft Punk; "Kids With Guns" and "El Manana" have a sort of sour indie resignation; and the massed choral vocals lend a mock-heroism to "Don't Get Lost In Heaven". Some tracks, like "O Green World", are marked by daring, Morricone-esque stylistic shifts, switching from lumbering tec

Five years and six million album sales on, the stakes have been raised alarmingly for Damon Albarn's Gorillaz side-project. It's extraordinary, then, that this follow-up should not just surpass its predecessor, but should do so with such a carefree sense of fun and such fertile musical invention. It's very Beck-like in the way it yokes together a postmodern pop playfulness and cool gravitas, moving smoothly from the introductory noir-scape of bassoon, samples and pump organ through a series of musical strategies that cleverly avoid settling into any generic formula. A blend of funky wah-wah clavinet and waspish synth gives tracks like "Dirty Harry", "All Alone" and "Every Planet We Reach Is Dead" the cast of a more humanist Daft Punk; "Kids With Guns" and "El Manana" have a sort of sour indie resignation; and the massed choral vocals lend a mock-heroism to "Don't Get Lost In Heaven". Some tracks, like "O Green World", are marked by daring, Morricone-esque stylistic shifts, switching from lumbering techno bleeps to scrubby indie guitars - a bit like Blur, if truth be told. In general, there's less of the first album's deracinated dub, and less fuss made of the band's cartoon status; the string of guests - among them Shaun Ryder, Roots Manuva, Ike Turner, De La Soul, Dennis Hopper and Neneh Cherry - means it's hardly missed.

Comments