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Gorillaz – Demon Days [Album Review]

April 22, 2012

Intro / Last Living Souls / Kids With Guns / O Green World / Dirty Harry/ Feel Good Inc. / El Manana / Every Plant We Reach Is Dead / NovemberHas Come / All Alone / White Light / Dare / Fire Coming Out Of A Monkeys Head / Don’t Get Lost In Heaven / Demon Days

How can a cartoon band progress, exactly? Well, maybe draw a bit more grizzle and pain onto the front sleeves cartoon faces of the band members. Make an album that sounds altogether darker in places than the majority of the debut. Remain rooted in hip-hop, but also work with a myriad of other influences. Reach number one in the album charts, if you’re Damon Albarn, and still have taxi-drivers come upto you and say, “hey Damon, you’ve not done much music lately, have you?”. Gorillaz are huge, yet still a good majority of the record buying public have no idea who is behind the band, let alone the fact that Damon Albarn from Blur is behind the band. All of these things can be qualified as successes. First single ‘Feel Good Inc’ is so insidious that it’s no surprise it stuck around in the charts here in the UK for months and months, very rare for a single these days. The bass riff is hella catchy and you just cant stop humming it. Gorillaz took advantage of the new rule allowing legally downloaded singles to count towards the charts proper. As such, ‘Feel Good Inc’ spent a good three or four weeks in the top 40 before it was even released on vinyl or CD. Good going, I say. As for the sleek piece of modernity the song ‘Feel Good Inc’ is, Gorillaz still saw fit to include an inspired section about windmills that occupied a quieter section in the song, driven by acoustic guitar. You’ve just got to love it there is no other way around it. ‘Dare’ has been released as the 2nd single and much like the first, initially fails to grab you by the balls but after repeated listening, burrows its way into your soul. So, two singles in and ‘Demon Days’ has already corrected one of the flaws of the debut album set? Well, it would appear so.

It’s a strange thing, but for an album that lasts  not too long at all (fifty minutes) ‘Demon Days’ seems to last several days rather than just shy of an hour. Ah, finally a critiscm! They’ve worked hard though to vary the sound of the songs that make up the album, ‘Don’t Get Lost In Heaven’ almost coming across as a lost Lennon mantra beamed down to earth and worked into a song, of sorts, courtesy of Damon. ‘El Manana’ resembles post-coxon Blur with added dance production. Well, naturally enough, I suppose. But, going back to what I mentioned right at the start of this review, a darker mood permeates stuff like this than Gorillaz of before. Back to the album sounding as if it lasts longer than a mere fifty minutes then? Well, it seems packed to bursting with ideas, often good ideas that too frequently don’t reach full fruition because of the clumsy nature of the arrangements. Too many times the songs comes across as overproduced, a shared complaint I had with the debut. The band just trying far too hard. No natural ( monkey? ) magic then, but the best of this album is certainly special enough to almost justify the massive hype.

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