Virtual electronica band Gorillaz are back on the music scene following a viral 360 video, and the release of their first album in six years, Humanz.
Frontman Damon Albarn (who is also the singer of Britpop band Blur) has made a collection of pairings throughout the album – essentially a set of A and B sides – breaking up each section with short interludes.
Ascension and Strobelite instantly recall early Gorillaz sounds, before lead single Saturn Barz and Momentz shift towards a more dark and gloomy industrial sound with fizzy synths bubbling away in the background.
The propulsive Submission is more electro-pop sounding, while the hypnotic siren sound of Charger keeps the section related to the previous songs.
Andromeda and Busted and Blue have a dreamy and atmospheric edge, as Albarn sings more melodically and emotionally, and prove to be the highlights. Carnival and Let Me Out then veer into a more gothic gospel direction, with gritty electronic beats and haunting keyboard lines. Next comes a minimal shuffle and whispered vocal, changing it up once more, before She’s My Collar adds a glitchy feel and driving beat to the mix.
Humanz however does fall short in its final phase. Benjamin Clementine offers a beautiful vocal over cinematic strings and a vintage choir sound in Hallelujah Money, but an intrusive synth stab makes everything sound out of key, and sadly ruins the song.
Gorillaz may have been out of the game for a while, but Humanz reminds us that they are as compelling as ever.
Edited by Ginny Wong