News & Reviews
3. Gorillaz Gorillaz (Album; - Parlophone)
Well its not the first time its been done. As youngsters weve all delighted in the Jacksons caricatures and The Beatles 2D alter egos. More recently weve given an understandable cheer at the Spice Girls farewell puppets. The difference though the Jackson/Beatle/Spice Girl man-made personas were introduced after wed become accustomed to the real living, breathing versions. This time its the Cartoons we meet first. And for a few initial weeks a kind of excited mystery surrounded it all. No one was certain of the people behind the pictures apart from a few summations that the lead singer sounded a bit like Blurs Damon Albarn - but better.
Now the stories out and its not very interesting any more. Ok, so the websites reasonably impressive and yeah, Jamie Hewlett (of Tank Girl fame) has done a mighty fine job of his character creations but its time to set aside the media hype and get down to the serious business of the music.
And somehow, listening closely to this album makes you seriously ponder whether Mr Albarn enjoyed his part in making it. Considering he likes to think of himself as a bit of a brainbox, a musical revolutionary, its difficult to believe that he could take pride in most of what this album has to offer. In fact it would seem the cartoon concept must have been his main motivation.
Tripping between the half-hearted dub of Slow Country and the aptly named pseudo-punk Punk he treads dangerously on the toes of punk and dub aficionados. Its a wishy-washy attempt effort to be eclectic and experimental that hasnt quite paid off.
Having said that, there are moments of great creative integrity such as the doleful, harmonica laden Tommorrow Comes Today, the indie/hip-hop cross-over of Clint Eastwood and the Are You Being Served? style Rock The House.
In the race for the final Mercury Music Prize and according to William Hill bookies its Gorillaz who are favourites to win but considering Damon Albarn et al are refusing to attend the awards ceremony we may be in for a disappointing climax. Unless of course they decide to send along their better halves.


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