Gorillaz | Plastic Beach Album Review

Plastic BeachAs a conceptual band the Gorillaz consist of animated characters drawn together by Jamie Hewett (one of the creators of the Tank Girl comic) as for the music though that is Damon Albarn’s focus. This, as their third studio album, has the lofty task of living up to its predecessors in terms of content and level of musical collaboration. Unlike most albums Plastic Beach has no singular style that it holds to through its track list. It is for lack of a better term, a briarpatch of musical styles and artists. But what an interesting briarpatch it is.

The album begins with an orchestral intro as if it is the overture for The Magic Flute. The musical styles littering Plastic Beach must lean heavily on the Hip-Hop/Rap side of things, but that is to be expected, this is a Gorillaz album after all. Not really. The album moves through its tracks like a finger on a radio seek button passing through different styles at a whim. It’s the goal of the creative force behind the project Damon Albarn to make a more pop oriented and expansive album, something with a pace to match its talent. After the intro, Snoop Dog delivers one of his signature raps accompanied by the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble from then on Plastic Beach goes from 80s synth with tracks like Rhinestone Eyes, to ambient-drown with the track Empire Ants and Some Kind of Nature. Sweepstakes as with Snoop Dog’s track is a rap accompanied with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble but performed by Mos Def.

GorillazThere are over fifteen musicians featured on this album (not to mention the entire Lebanese National Orchestra for Oriental Arabic Music). No track on this album has the singular force of such tracks as Sound Check (Gravity) off of the debut album. But when you take all of the tracks of Plastic Beach and listen to them based on their singular merit then as the album as a whole… you are still confused… but oddly satisfied.

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