Would this be some obscure experiment that musical snobs would love and the public would ignore? Thankfully, it's the opposite. The pre-release video for the first single, cheekily titled "Feel Good Inc." offers serious hope (check out the video under this review). This new song (featuring De La Soul) is catchy as hell - hip hop with added adrenaline and thick, buzzy production.
Albarn ropes in a cool hit list of collaborators (both living and dead). Neneh Cherry ("Kids with guns"), and Sean Ryder ("Dare"), Ike Turner ("Every Planet We Reach is Dead") and Dennis Hopper's spoken word ("Coming out of the Monkey's Head") all grace the credits list along with little freaky comic voices.Oddly, this musical promiscuity isn't pointless disruptive showing off. Albarn holds the hugely listenable Demon Days together. His distinctive vocals dominate. They sound sometimes buttery and occasionally dry, and sometimes as if they're coming at you from an old radio down a bad telephone line.The richly instrumented sound provides a unifying wash of nice noise. If your speakers aren't coping, that's because the bass is dangerous on a bad system, but gorgeous on a good one.The best thing about this CD, though, is probably the faintly crazed overtone of Armageddon flavoured comedy. "There's Crack on the Corner" goes the cheerful chant. Wow! In the rock / pop / hip hop swill of self important, miserable millionaires, smack addicted rockers shagging supermodels, and other characters we're meant to feel sorry for even while wishing we were them, it's exciting - no it's exhilarating - to find a band that has a sense of humour about themselves. It's fresh, it's fun, it's international. Experimental? With blue smoke. Pop? Oh yes. Buy it? Definitely do.
WHAT OTHER CRITICS SAID
What exactly it evokes is open for debate (even if the general undercurrent of impending dread is not), though trying to resolve that debate is proving to be one of the most unique pleasures the year has offered thus far. Demon Days is fantastic. - Mike Schiller for Pop Matters
Though the results of his exuberant mixing and matching are uneven at times, Albarn's obsessions fit together just often enough to again make Gorillaz more than mere Adult Swim novelty.- Rob Mitchum for Pitchforkmedia
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