Reviewed by Jason Zingale
ans of the Brit band Blur may have a tasty snack to chew on while waiting for a new album. Rather than following the flock with the usual solo-project indulgences, Blur frontman Damon Albarn has teamed with cartoonist Jamie Hewlett to create Gorillaz, a made-up cartoon rock band. The band is composed of the fictional characters, Murdoc, Russel and Noodle, and their music comes courtesy of Albarn and an eclectic group of artists like the American rapper Del Tha Funky Homosapien, as well as various members of the Tom Tom Club, Cibo Matto and Buena Vista Social Club. No different than Alvin and the Chipmunks or Josie and the Pussycats, the Gorillaz are quite simply a cartoon, but their message and their music, which plays as an animated piece of Brit pop, is for the more mature audience.
Tracks like the rap-rock mutation "Clint Eastwood" and the jazz-funk pop track "Rock the House" invert everything that Blur's prior album was, into everything that it should have been. In "Tomorrow Comes Today," Albarn's dreary voice scratches ingeniously over the bass lines, providing a soothing mix in comparison to the rest of the album's upbeat sound. The Gorillaz' self-titled album is a step above experimental music. It creates fascinating tunes and catchy lyrics to match up with the outside image presented by each group members' character. I strongly recommend this album to any music fan out there, but followers of UK bands like Blur, Radiohead and the Stereophonics will be greatly satisfied.