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Gorillaz - Gorillaz

Number of Discs
1
Release Date
06/19/2001
Artist
Gorillaz
Format
CD / Album
Label / Studio
Virgin
Duration
01:18:30

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It's tempting to judge Gorillaz -- Damon Albarn, Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura's virtual band -- just by their brilliantly animated videos and write the project off as another triumph of style over substance. Admittedly, Hewlett's edgy-cute characterizations of 2-D, Gorillaz' pretty boy singer (who looks a cross between the Charlatans' Tim Burgess and Sonic the Hedgehog), sinister bassist Murdoc, whiz-kid guitarist Noodle, and b-boy drummer Russel are so arresting that they almost detract from Gorillaz' music. The amazing "Thriller"-meets-Planet of the Apes clip for "Clint Eastwood" is so visually clever that it's easy to take the song's equally clever, hip-hop-tinged update of the Specials' "Ghost Town" for granted. And initially, Gorillaz' self-titled debut feels incomplete when Hewlett's imagery is removed; the concept of Gorillaz as a virtual band doesn't hold up as well when you can't see the virtual bandmembers. It's too bad that there isn't a DVD version of Gorillaz, with videos for every song, à la the DVD version of Super Furry Animals' [RoviLink="VR"]Rings Around the World. Musically, however, Gorillaz is a cutely caricatured blend of Albarn's eclectic Brit-pop and Nakamura's equally wide-ranging hip-hop, and it sounds almost as good as the band looks. Albarn has fun sending up Blur's cheeky pop on songs like "5/4" and "Re-Hash," their trip-hop experiments on "New Genious" and "Sound Check," and "Song 2"-like thrash-pop on "Punk" and "M1 A1." Despite the similarities between Albarn's main gig and his contributions here, Gorillaz isn't an Albarn solo album in disguise; Nakamura's bass- and beat-oriented production gives the album an authentically dub and hip-hop-inspired feel, particularly on "Rock the House" and "Tomorrow Comes Today." Likewise, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Miho Hatori, and Ibrahim Ferrer's vocals ensure that it sounds like a diverse collaboration rather than an insular side project. Instead, it feels like a musical vacation for all parties involved -- a little self-indulgent, but filled with enough fun ideas and good songs to make this virtual band's debut a genuinely enjoyable album. ~ Heather Phares

1) Re-Hash
2) 5/4
3) Tomorrow Comes Today
4) New Genius (Brother)
5) Clint Eastwood
6) Man Research (Clapper)
7) Punk
8) Sound Check (Gravity)
9) Double Bass
10) Rock the House
11) 19-2000
12) Latin Simone (¿Qué Pasa Contigo?)
13) Starshine
14) Slow Country
15) M1 A1
16) Dracula
17) Left Hand Suzuki Method

Album
Gorillaz
Publisher
EMI Music Distribution
Main Format
CD
Explicit Lyrics
Yes
Keyword Index
Gorillaz | Gorillaz