Sound — 10
The balance between the oddity of music that satisfies eccentric tastes and accessibility that attracts wide appeal is what gains the band's popularity. Building up a line up between these two, Gorillaz may sound anyhow, but never typical. The new album just proves that. While Demon Days doesn't have Dan The Automator's work on it, DJ Danger Mouse (who got worldwide famous for producing the controversial The Grey Album) is in control over the albums' production duties now. The album is driven by a gritty energy, aggressive core and love of music. It sounds as weird as it's predecessor, but on the current CD every song has a story behind it and instead of lyrics in the CD booklet, the songs are featured with pictures, having the song's name, hidden on it. The record has a huge guest-list ?- a guest almost in every song. The assortment includes Shaun Ryder (of Happy Mondays and Black Grape), Bootie Brown (from The Pharcyde), Trugoy (from De La Soul), Dennis Hopper, MF Doom, Roots Manuva, Martina Topley Bird (from Tricky), and The London Community Gospel Choir. The first few tracks feel like a prelude to a beautiful and haunting "Dirty Harry." It maintains a funky groove, driven by Bootie Brown's energetic rap fused with children's chorus. The song itself is kind of a sequel to "Clint Eastwood" from their first album and it's one of the best songs on the CD. The band perfects it's techno and house sound in augmented by the performance of Shaun Ryder in the bouncing "Dare." That might be called his best recorded appearance for the last 15 years and the song itself is not less, than an electronic pop masterpiece. The oddly catchy first single "Feel Good Inc." with bluesy harmonica melody interrupted by Russel's punching rhymes has the appealing contribution from De La Soul that only adds to its intensity. Devilish Kids With Guns is remarkable for its killer bass line and the appearance of Neneh Cherry on the back vocals. Albarn is having fun with a cockney accent all through the track and Neneh steals Salt-N-Peppa's line "Push it real good!" to create a hypnotizing chorus. Like many other songs on the album, this one balances between two different styles and melodies, maintaining a pure Gorillaz sound full of funky and remarkable tunes. I can go on like this forever, describing every song and finding something different in each one of them, it's a thrilling music journey 'cause you never know what to expect around the corner and the band surprises you with every next song you hear on the CD. So I stop blubbering on (about sound at least), try it yourself!
Lyrics — 10
Gorillaz are famous for 2D (aka Damon Albarn) bizarre vocal performance. On Demon Days he got a generous help from a lot of famous musicians, but his vocal is still the defining factor for Gorillaz sound. His heartfelt and slurry voice involves you in the song's mood the second you hear it. Humming background vocal sound haunting, female voice add some texture, falsetto vocals add a touching feel and that all together create a lazy plaintive feel. The lyrics is the most powerful weapon of the band. Gorillaz write the very serious and at the same time wittiest and silliest lyrics ever. You may find the lyrics very deep and search for a hidden meaning behind the cartoon images or you may take it as a joke and think the band is just making fun of what they're doing. But my advise is -? get stoned and listen to the record again. You'll get the message the band delivers and... the truth is out there.
Overall Impression — 10
The new album is an album for lost souls -? filled with Albarn's sad melancholic vocals, it's a breath of fresh air for psychedelic lovers. It gives a listener something new to appreciate with every next play. The CD is a mixture of hip-hop, indie rock, trip-hop, punk, funk, dance to start with a few. Even though it's hard to imagine all of this on one CD, Gorillaz made it sound like an admirable and interesting mess. The creative freedom, which comes from the animation side of the project, not depending on record company and a whole lot of other factors, that embarrass most of the musicians, allows the band experiment in the oddest way. As 2-D sees the new album, it's the debut LP, repainted in different colors. Darker, more depressive and harder. But doesn't matter how dark the spirit of the song is, the band never looses its sense of humor. The songs may sound fun and silly, but never ridiculous. At the same time the melodies are clear, stiff and more structural. What started as a side project for Damon Albarn, is now called the missing link in the evolution of music. Now 2-D is complaining that Blur's frontman is copying his singing manner. Do you remember times when Blur albums were compared to Oasis records? Now critics compare Gorillaz to Oasis. Everything changes and Gorillaz are playing the music that faces the world we're living in, at least as they see it -? with innocent children chorus, aggressive rap, eccentric power and eerie sound. 2-D once said that there would be lots of fictional animated bands like Gorillaz, but everybody would remember that they were the first. While non-believer still considered Gorillaz to be a novelty, the oracle meanwhile came true -? Gorillaz gave birth to a lot of cyber projects with no real musicians around the world. Which just proves the genius of the creators.