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Artist: Gorillaz
Label: Virgin Records Us
Genre: Alternative
Release: Jan 2005   My Rating: 0
Duration: 50:44
Summary: A side project doesn't usually hit gold, especially when said project is a quirky virtual collective fronted by cartoon characters. But the first, self-titled album by Gorillaz--the brainchild of illustrator Jamie Hewlett and Blur frontman Damon Albarn--actually hit platinum and turned into a surprise worldwide hit. Naturally expectations were a lot higher for Gorillaz's sophomore effort, but "Demon Days" actually is even better than its predecessor. With producer Dan "the Automator" Nakamura gone, Albarn, a.k.a. 2D, has paired up with DJ Danger Mouse (responsible for the infamous "Grey Album" that illegally mixed the Beatles and Jay-Z) to steer the musical ship, while a whole new slew of guests enlivens the proceedings. Albarn has described "Demon Days" as being darker, but there's a real kooky dance-party vibe coursing through the CD. Despite its somber tone, "Kids with Guns" is lifted by a killer bass line, for instance, while the catchy first single, "Feel Good Inc," is augmented by an appealing contribution from De La Soul. Other noteworthy guests include Roots Manuva and Tricky collaborator Martina Topley-Bird on the dubby "All Alone" and Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder on the bouncy "DARE." And yet it's a 69-year-old actor who gets to deliver the most baffling contribution--just listen to Dennis Hopper's spoken-word narrative on "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head." "Elisabeth Vincentelli"


Artist: Gorillaz
Label: Virgin Records Us
Genre: Rap & Hip Hop
Release: Jan 2001   My Rating: 0
Duration: 72:34
Summary: The Gorillaz claim to have found their motley crew of cartoon characters sleeping in Leicester Square, but Blur's Damon Albarn (a.k.a. 2-D) and cult cartoonist Jamie Hewlett (Murdoc) aren't fooling anyone. As the ultimate experiment in manufactured image, the Gorillaz are a virtual cartoon-character-based hip-hop band who bring together witty, silly lyrics and talented musicians. Infectious old-school hip-hop rhythms, rhymes, and effects courtesy of Deltron 3030's Kid Koala and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien (Russel) are combined with Albarn's passion for chugging lo-fi and edgy melodies to create a seemingly raw but ultimately slick blend of styles. This is nowhere more evident than on the hit single "Clint Eastwood," which is carried along by the sound of 2-D's slurred voice and a bluesy harmonica melody interrupted by Russel's punching rhymes. But the surprises don't stop there: Ibrahim Ferrer's appearance on "Latin Simone" could have come straight from "Buena Vista Social Club" but for the obvious Blur-influenced piano style, while the spooky intro to "M1 A1" wouldn't sound out of place on Michael Jackson's "Thriller". Backed by Jamie Hewlett's death-wish character on bass, Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori (Noodle) on guitar and occasional hyperactive vocals, and produced by Dan "the Automator" Nakamura, it's hardly surprising that "Gorillaz" is marked both by a sense of playfulness and a passion for experimentation. "--Caroline Butler"