Gorillaz: Plastic BeachMikey 8 comments
Around 12 years ago Damon Albarn decided that being front man for pop sensations Blur just wasn't enough to stretch his musical wings. Sure he was the major songwriter and musical contributor to the band, but they had a particular audience that meant straying too far from the public expectations might have been detrimental to their careers. So what do you do when you need to express more creativity? You either go solo or form another band. Albarn did both.
His new 'band', a virtual collective of cartoon characters under the moniker 'Gorillaz', have since consistently created some incredibly interesting music.
Plastic Beach is Gorillaz 3rd album, and just to give you an idea of how this project has worked out for Albarn, the first 2 Gorillaz albums alone have outsold the entire Blur discography (7 albums).
For those not familiar with the virtual band concept, Gorillaz can be looked at as being Damon Albarn featuring a collective of likely and unlikely guests. On Plastic Beach you will aside from Albarn himself also hear Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Gruff Rhys, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, and Mick Jones.
When all is said and done though, Albarn sings on a few but writes, produces and play the instruments on all the songs.
There are 16 songs on the album all of which have Albarns' signature sound all over them. After the first listening I remember thinking 'that was very good'. But after several rotations at work all week I realised Plastic Beach is excellent, and probably Albarns' best work to date. Albarn has cast a wide net so there's a wide range of moods to be enjoyed.
It's defiantly worth a listen if you're pining for something different. It has my personal seal of approval and those who know me on this site also know that doesn't come so easily :-)
Bonus: Here's a small taste.
Stylo (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)
Empire Ants (feat. Little Dragon)
Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach (feat. Snoop Dogg)
Extra Bonus: Check out the excellent featuring the characters rendered in CGI, featuring a homicidal Bruce Willis. Be sure to switch to the 1080p stream.