Gorillaz
Plastic Beach


4.0
excellent

Review

by Deviant STAFF
March 7th, 2010 | 329 replies | 27,594 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Round 3 for Albarn and co. proves that third time is still indeed the charm.

I’m so f*cking sick of drawing those characters” – Jamie Hewlett

I’ve always considered the Gorillaz a rather interesting enigma, an unusual entry into the music world. There are the obvious examples of course; I mean how seriously can you take an animated band that relies just as much on its back story as it does on actual music releases? And that’s where I’ve always managed to find a problem; I’ve no interest in a band/group that spends far too much time setting the scene when I’ve always found them lacking in the actual musical goods. That’s not to say I had written them off completely; both their self-titled effort and Demon Days were not without their charms, but it always seemed that they were unable to carry one idea throughout a whole album. While that obviously allowed the superior songs on each L.P to shine even more, both albums always seemed half realized and inflated with an air of pretentiousness and smugness. Needless to say, I believed that Gorillaz (read: Damon Albarn) were squandering their potential, wasting it away on songs that seemed catered to their eager audience, as opposed to songs that sounded like something Albarn really wanted to write for himself. Luckily Plastic Beach does a wonderful job of blowing away all the notions and feelings I ever had towards this band; and I couldn’t be more surprised and happy in equal measures.

Damon Albarn proclaimed in the build up to release date as saying that this was going to be the Gorillaz’ most pop oriented album to date. But, without a single track on here bearing any resemblance to ‘Feel Good Inc.’ or ‘Dare’ that really isn’t the case, and the album comes off a lot stronger as a result. There’s no overwhelming track to break the flow of the album, Plastic Beach rolls along at an almost soothing pace and all the tracks on offer serve only to compliment each other. While there are obvious highlights there’s no sense of any one song attempting to dominate the whole album, as such every track becomes integral and significant to the overall sound and theme of the album as a whole. But just as Demon Days and their self titled albums started, so does Plastic Beach; this isn’t an album that begins lightly, or remarkably strong either. Even with Snoop sounding more laid back than ever before with his pimpin’ drawl and rap dub approach coupled with a rather suitable overture acting as the introduction to the album, it’s not until ‘Rhinestone Eyes’ (brilliant) that Plastic Beach really feels like it’s begun. ‘Rhinestone’ is all dream and haze, with its ‘80’s throwback vibes and retro appeal. With its abstract poetic imagery “your rhinestone eyes are like factories far away”, it’s an early album highlight. And while containing all the necessary ingredients that make up a typical Gorillaz track, it still sounds fresh and full of life with its greedy synth literally bouncing off the walls.

‘Stylo’ starts up next, a genre mashing number and well deserving of the title “first single”. An addictive bass line leads the way forward as Mos Def drops in to lend his talents. It’s a brave track, relying more on Bobby Womack’s thunderous arrival (it’s rumored that his performance caused him to pass out in the studio) than a catchy chorus or hook to see it through. And it’s here that Damon deserves the round of applause that’s been long overdue, because I’d love to know how anyone would be able to make a track featuring Mos and Bobby Womack (his bottom wails are a treat) sound as if Gary Numan was sitting behind the production booth. Out of everyone that stumbled out of the wake of the whole ‘Britpop’ scene Albarn still remains the only chief player still interested in defining himself as a musician. At one end of the spectrum you have ‘Empire Ants’, all melancholic and minimal with only the pitter patter of a drum machine keeping Albarn’s suitable drawl company. And then at the other end there’s ‘Sweepstakes’ with it’s almost dancehall approach, bombastic in its splendor and hip hop aesthetic.

There’s enough going on in this album to make sure that it won’t be dropping off the radar anytime soon. And chances are it’ll take away as many awards as all their previous works, and so it should; the guest spot by Lou Reed (obviously out of his comfort zone) is a gem to hear and much more inspired than some of the group’s previous collaborations, and serves as just another of the many album highlights. But what I’m left wondering is will this album take away all those awards simply based on the Gorillaz stigma? Or will it survive on its own and manage the distance under its own steam? Because this is a different beast all together; this is a much more soothing and relaxing approach for the Gorillaz. It’s a snapshot of a colorful and inspiration filled mindset, and ends up standing head and shoulders above the rest of their discography. Whatever notions you have about animated characters making music this is an album that demands attention. It’s a lazy dub like ride that while running at a 100mph feels like it’s barely moving at all, it’s everywhere and nowhere all at once. Something good washed up on this beach.



Recent reviews by this author
Burial Rival DealerDeadmau5 >album title goes here<
Mala Mala In CubaFour Tet Pink
Shed The KillerTNGHT TNGHT
user ratings (1225)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Jasdevi087 (4)
    ...

    Peter Tabakis (4)
    Damon Albarn establishes himself as a pop auteur. Pop hits be damned, consistency rules he...

    TheSmoke (4.5)
    Plastic Beach is an very good album that nerver gets boring, it´s dreamy and it´s not co...

    clavichordwolf (2)
    Plastic Beach is nothing but candy-coated bullshit played for satire....

  • Plutonio (3)
    Plastic Beach is another album from hip-hop's eclectic superheroes; this time their eclect...

    DhA (4)
    Not that different from previous releases, although the lack of a killer single may make t...

    piero (4)
    Maybe Plastic Beach represents the beginning of the end of musical labeling, the start of ...

    Nick Butler EMERITUS (2.5)
    An identity crisis caught on record....

  • sobelecta (4.5)
    Album number three doesn't disappoint from the former Blur man....

    Raul Stanciu STAFF (3.5)
    After two brilliant efforts, Albarn & Co. are back with a bigger number, this time more s...

related reviews

Gorillaz

Demon Days

G-Sides

Laika Come Home
recommended by reviewer
Gorillaz Demon Days

Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



31085 Comments


For Eclectic & Romulus

Digging: Banks - Goddess

combustion07
March 7th 2010



5343 Comments


Awesome album

Bulldog
March 7th 2010



3796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

good review. pos.

but d00d, if you like albums without any standout songs to disrupt the flow. you should DEFINITELY check out panacea's a mind on a ship through time.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



31085 Comments


It's not that I don't enjoy them, it's just i always felt that Demon Days revolved around Feel Good and Dare, every track here is almost each other's equal

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



31085 Comments


Really wondering why Gorillaz are listed under hip hop

Thor
March 7th 2010



10183 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Because they incorporate it in some of their songs?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



31085 Comments


Yeah, some. I just think that there's so much more in this band than just hip hop

Thor
March 7th 2010



10183 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well that's why they're also listed as alt rock and pop

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



31085 Comments


I meant on the hip hop page. Idk, I just think their overall sound would be more suited being listed on the 'other' page

Mordecai.
March 7th 2010



8277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't wait to hear this.

qwe3
March 7th 2010



21355 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

listening now, the snoop song was meh but im liking the intro to white flag

Transient
March 7th 2010



1461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

rating will probably go up, but so far it's just good

cirq
March 7th 2010



9263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the world turns, the cush burns
pos'd

qwe3
March 7th 2010



21355 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this rules so far. holyshit.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



31085 Comments


white flag onwards is what i consider the actual album, first two serve as more of an introduction


Not really a big fan of White Flag tbh

Can't wait to hear this.


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124114812




AggravatedYeti
March 7th 2010



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well nm me doing one of these,
this about sums it all up, awesome job.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



31085 Comments


Thanks man

MrHand
March 7th 2010



10 Comments


hands down one of the worst albums ive ever heard

your review is stupid too especially you're grammar

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2010



31085 Comments


especially you're grammar


Yeah okay genius


MrHand
March 7th 2010



10 Comments


Is that sarcasm or am i confused. if it isnt thanks i am a genious



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy