Gorilla Dayz Are Here Again
The Gorillaz’ two-dimensional members – 2D, Noodle, Murdoc and Russel – are back for a second helping of funkadelic hip-hop with their sophomore album, Demon Days. While the quartet is as unique a blend of characters as the album is of styles, the man behind the curtain, Blur’s Damon Albarn, is the real brains of the operation.
Demon Days is that perfect blend of electronic effects, heavy-handed riffs, and urban rhymes that make you want to shake your cel-shaded rump. It starts with a spooky cartoonish “Intro,” but sets the pace at slow and steady with “Last Living Souls,” an electro-pop inspired lament; and “Kids With Guns,” which plods through (enjoyable) choral gibberish and multi-layered guitars.
Each song has something unique and fun to offer. “O Green World” is both modern rock and electro-funk. “Dirty Hairy” springs from classical to rap to a children’s chorus, and somehow makes it work. The single “Feel Good Inc.” is a catchy funk rhythm with a superlative guest appearance by De La Soul. Perhaps the strangest moment is Dennis Hopper’s spoken-word narrative on “Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head.” Throughout, Albarn’s vocals add a humanistic poignant mood to otherwise inorganic tracks.
The behind-the-scenes cast has changed since Gorillaz’ self-titled debut; gone are Dan “The Automator” Nakamura and Del tha Funkee Homosapien. In their places, Danger Mouse (famous for his maverick The Grey Album) produces, while Shaun Ryder, Debbie Harry, and Martina Topley-Bird collaborate along with Hopper and DLS. The result is a slightly different departure from Gorillaz, but no less intriguing and innovative.
Overall, Demon Days has much to offer past and future fans of these “virtual virtuosos.”