Humanz

Gorillaz

Humanz
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Humanz

Gorillaz

The world’s most successful virtual band make their highly anticipated return with a new studio album titled Humanz.

Produced by Gorillaz, The Twilight Tone of D /\ P and Remi Kabaka and recorded in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Jamaica, ‘Humanz’ comes seven years on from the release of album ‘Plastic Beach,’ which peaked at #1 on the ARIA chart and was certified Gold in Australia, and ‘The Fall.’

Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar), Russel Hobbs (drums) and 2D (vocals) are - as always - joined by a stellar line up of featured artists which includes Jehnny Beth (Savages), Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, De La Soul, D.R.A.M., Peven Everett, Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones, Zebra Katz, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T, Jamie Principle and Kali Uchis, to name a few.

A six-minute Jamie Hewlett-directed epic animated film features four ‘Humanz’ tracks - being “Saturnz Barz” (feat. Popcaan) in full, plus highlights of “Ascension” (feat. Vince Staples), “Andromeda” (feat. D.R.A.M.) and “We Got The Power” (feat. Jehnny Beth). The film - “Saturnz Barz (Spirit House),” supported by YouTube - also affords an extraordinary cutting-edge VR video (360-3D).

With interludes narrated by Ben Mendelsohn

Review

Gorillaz are back with Humanz, an album loaded with diverse and plentiful guests to further shape the unique audio-verse they’ve been building since 2001. A more frenetic and energetic turn to cruising trip-hop/reggae sound, this is music chiefly to dance to: more dub, more trance, more Brit-sounding than its predecessors? Although founder Damon Albarn has always given the band a political edge, Humanz possesses a sonic aggression (some hard fast beats) that may unsettle the misanthropic chill of a typical Gorillaz fan. But in this tempestuous political climate, it’s nice to get a bit angry.

Favourite tracks include ‘Ascension’, with young rapper Vince Staples kicking us off with an energetic banger, combining early-noughts beats with contemporary Californian hip-hop – and I can’t get enough of Grace Jones’s splendid refrain in ‘Charger’, it is honestly too short a song. Melbourne’s own Ben Mendelsohn provides poetic interludes that sound like they were recorded in a wet stairwell, however wrought with a corny kind of charm.

Albarn’s signature electro-vocals play a second chair to his guests these days, more a kind of afterthought than the formulaic rap hook and verse in a lot of contemporary music. With each release, Albarn is further obscuring himself, and the nature of the band, whose animated members appear only as masked primates, caricatures of style, imitators of people. It’s one of the most cinematic musical concepts in existence – yet, on some tracks, like ‘Let Me Out’, it may have been better if Albarn had left the aural artistry entirely to rapper Pusha T and soul singer Mavis Staples. As a whole, Humanz has some delightful contradictions, and feels like a transitory force; the shape of things to come. I look forward to hearing it many more times.


Jemima Bucknell is our Online Fulfilment Manager.

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