by Stephen Gore USER (43 Reviews)
August 20th, 2007 | 11 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Even a clutch of cheap remixed cash-ins tacked on to these lost tracks can't hide the originality and maudlin charm of Gorillaz

B-sides compilations, so long consigned to the grimy-brown depths of your local dodgy underground record shop, are lost in the cobwebs for good reason. Even hardcore fans of the artist/s in question tend to recognise that they're usually collections of half-baked ideas or disorganised, experimental pap that wanders all over the place. The pleasant surprise with G Sides is the realisation that Gorillaz material always seemed rather half-baked and disorganised anyway.

It's just a shame they ruined it by bulking it out with dire remixes of past singles; 'Clint Eastwood (Phil Life Cypher version)' is an obnoxiously heavy-going effort that takes the desolation from the immense original and adds squeaky electro and a flurry of rapping that overdoes it, to say the least. '19-2000 (Soul Child remix)' takes the plodding feel away and injects 150ccs of bubblegum into the track, guaranteeing it a place on UK advertisement campaigns and sacrificing the sardonically bitter tone of the original. 'Rock The House' (Radio edit) also shows up here; how this uber-cheesy track ever made it as a single is beyond me, and the chorus does nothing to help: "Tap your toes and clap your hands!/C'mon trace the blow then shake your ass!" (shudder).

Fortunately, the 'g-sides' are quite good; indeed, some would have easily been more worthy additions to Demon Days than certain tracks that weighed down that brilliant but flawed album. For instance, 'Faust' is a hypnotic waterfall of cascading synths and ambient female Japanese patter, while 'Ghost Train' is the raucous highlight of the album, all rollicking rhythm and shuddering express train effects, with a hearty undertone of funk and a screamalong chorus to boot. 'The Sounder' mixes bouncy hip-hop with Indian-style strings plucking away insistently, while 'Hip Albatross', obviously inspired by the Fleetwood Mac song of nearly the same name, presents you with a similarly lilting guitar effect, only it comes with warped, eerie radio effects and cliched Jamaican samples, "Hey mon, just soakin' up som sunshine, how's that?".

'Dracula' has a melancholy mood, a pensive moan from 2D (Albarn) here and there, with rather funny vocals from the Count himself, "Rest is gooooood for de bloooood!". 'Left Hand Suzuki Method' begins with the sound of a lighter followed by bubbling that's either: a drink being poured (kids version) or...well, use your own judgement for that (surely not, 2D!), before turning into a stomping beat and offering yet more of Noodle's vocal doodlings. A remarkable track is '12D3', in which a lethargic guitar twangs away all the way through a track of ominous moans, mmnnhhs, pianos and harmonies of "12D3...12D3"; it has that certain something, a quality that made Gorillaz such an intriguing 'group'.

One for completionists only? Not quite. The rank remixes chucked in don't defer from the b-sides that, on the whole, are 100% Gorillaz tracks, many better than some lesser album tracks; whether that's attractive or not is up to you. It doesn't seem likely that Damon Albarn will approach this 'side project' anytime soon, if ever again; for people who appreciated the warped musical stylings of Demon Days, and wanted just that little bit more, G Sides would do very nicely indeed. The bulk may be of a rather more plodding pace than the likes of 'Dirty Harry' or 'Feel Good Inc.', the album is short, and the remixes are awful, but there's still some creativity and intrigue left. It's at least better than your average b-sides compilation. Noodle would be proud.

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user ratings (175)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 20th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I actually prefer this to the debut. Good review

The Jungler
August 20th 2007


Gorillaz are cool, the main releases are really enjoyable albums with a few brilliant tracks thrown in here and there. I think I prefer the debut by a small margin.
Really good review.

August 20th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, unlike Demon Days, which picked up loads of praise, the debut seems to divide a lot of people. I'd say this album was completely on a par with it

August 20th 2007


Nice review.

I have both Demon Days and their S/T, I really need to re-listen to both.

August 20th 2007


I have a burn copy of Demon Days that I listened to once. I recall it being decent but not good enough for me to buy an album by Gorillaz. Awesome concept though with the band.

August 21st 2007


Thats not a drink being poured....

August 21st 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

haha. yeah...

August 21st 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

I prefer the innocent take, rather than considering more sinister possibilities. C'mon, they're cartoons!

August 29th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

Real good review. Some shining tracks on this disc.

Digging: Conversion Delay - Face in the Crowd

May 26th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

Even if it may cheapen its meaning, I still prefer the Soul Child remix of "19-2000" to the original.

March 9th 2012


I actually prefer this to the debut [2]

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