Gorillaz
The Fall


2.5
average

Review

by Deviant STAFF
December 25th, 2010 | 90 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A 43 minute promotional advertisement that money just can't buy

As some of you may remember my write up for Plastic Beach, I have something of a love-hate relationship when it comes to everyone's favorite animated band. Musically, well they're my cup of tea (generally), but in all honesty I just don't give a toss regarding all the unnecessary exposition that's been amusingly tacked together by their creators. I mean, did you know that there's been more releases concerning the history and story of the Gorillaz than actual music itself? I find that a little disconcerting to be honest, simply because I'm only in it for the music. But I understand that some people get a kick out of it and hey, that's cool, I'm fine with that. I'm just saying that I like my band with a side of music, I'm not interested in comics and games and stories and Damon Albarn's ego etc etc. But what interests me is the story behind this album, The Fall, recorded while on tour, using only an iPad. Well, there's advertising you can't buy, right? I mean, pretty sure the marketing team at Apple didn't think of that one. It's an apt name in retrospect (and by retrospect I mean 2 days, but who's counting) and it's also a little ironic to see the experiment experimenting. Yeah, Plastic Beach was a little of a stretch for them music wise, but this definitely feels a little more out of their comfort zone. And while I mentioned that I only care about Gorillaz the band and not Gorillaz the franchise, this little ode to road tripping could potentially be the undoing of all that animated legacy, all the bloated back story and the unnecessary frills. In fact, it might just leave them with nothing more than their music. Like I said, apt.

In a way, recording an album while on the road and therefore using less than conventional methods is, on the one hand exciting, but on the other, not enough of an excuse to warrant anyone not pointing out the obvious faults present with recording with a “rolling studio”. Sure, traveling from place to place does allow for incredible amounts of downtime and it's a testament to Damon and company's creative powers that they were able to conceive and write an entire album's worth of material while roaming from place to place. And it's an interesting concept to take these drawn from the road moments and actually record them, but when you're the Gorillaz (and in that one word I refer to studio wizardry, Del, Danger Mouse, high flying concepts, perfectly executed tracks that morph through a hundred different ideas and genres, mystery and art, ingenuity and inspiration) utilizing anything that's just “on hand” probably isn't the best of ways to continue your musical odyssey.

Recorded on an iPad, the album sounds exactly as you would expect it to. The Gorillaz have attempted to remake their vibrant and heavily layered sound on something not much bigger than my hand. And in a way it works, or to be more specific, it's surprising to hear just how much they were actually able to capture, how much of that quintessential sound was able to pass over to such a rudimentary form of sound production. But the recording equipment and location also presents many obvious restrictions at just how much they could get away with, and it shows. It's funny to see an album be undone by its very method of creation, to see it bogged down by the exciting prospect that I'm sure has many tech heads chomping at the bit and salivating in delight. It's encouraging to see just how far the band have been able to push the limits of their technology, and while they've obviously accomplished a lot, they're ultimately at the mercy of their own limits, held back by the very limitations they've imposed on themselves. Again, apt.

Take album opener 'Phoner To Arizona' for instance. It's a track that doesn't really do anything except just be there. It unfolds itself at an acceptable pace, progressing naturally and revealing just enough of itself to not be completely lackluster, but it doesn't become anything, it just sits there and watches me sigh and complain that it doesn't do anything with itself. 'Revolving Doors' has a little bit more going for it, in fact it's actually quite quaint in its approach, but its lo-fi nature confirms just how annoyed I'm getting at Damon Albarn's “I used to be a great singer, now I'm a broken down busker” vocal delivery. You're meant to be a cartoon, stop sounding so damned melancholic. I mean, I just want someone to paint a giant smile on his face, then give him a clip across the ears. And the rest of the album follows in a similar fashion; sure 'Hillbilly Man' is surprisingly bouncy and delightful as a result, and 'The Joplin Spider' represents an interesting bump in the road with its retro leanings, but by the end of the album I just find myself not caring at what's just run through the speakers. I don't find myself invested enough to go back and hear it all again, simply because there's not enough to hold my interest. There's great ideas here, but they're thin and shallow, everything here could benefit from some much needed padding and inflation.

I'm happy to see a band attempting something out of the box, and with next to no buildup and fanfare, but its rushed delivery and apparent stop start production (this was recorded during the middle of a tour remember) hasn't done the album any justice. As I said, people are going to get excited at the nature and existence of this album, but its limitations are, ultimately, its destruction. Would this album sound any better pieced together in an actual studio? Well yes, a little more polish could definitely have done this album many a favor. But of course, working out of a full blown studio would have allowed the band access to more techniques and instruments, and the obvious result would of course been not only more efficiently executed ideas, but just better ideas in general. I can't fault them for wanting to do this, but I can fault them for actually doing it.



Recent reviews by this author
Flying Lotus You're Dead!Aphex Twin Syro
Banks GoddessBurial Rival Dealer
Deadmau5 >album title goes here<Mala Mala In Cuba
user ratings (410)
Chart.
2.6
average
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


31620 Comments


My rebuttal

Hope everyone's Christmas went well

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

conradtao
Emeritus
December 25th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Your use of first person in the first paragraph irks me for some reason. Not that first person is a problem - quite the opposite - but I dunno, feels a bit off.

But I completely agree on all points, especially that summary. Pos!

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


31620 Comments


I would've completely avoided it had I not reviewed Plastic Beach tbh

conradtao
Emeritus
December 25th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, speaking of which, your first sentence reads a bit like a plug for an earlier review. I figure that's not your intent, but it sounds a bit like that.

"I mean I just want someone to paint a giant smile on his face, then give him a clip across the ears. And the rest of the album follows in a similar fashion; sure 'Hillbilly Man' is surprisingly bouncy and delightful as a result, and 'The Joplin Spider' represents an interesting bump in the road with its retro leanings, but by the end of the album I just find myself not caring at what's just run through the speakers. I don't find myself invested enough to go back and hear it all again, simply because there's not enough to hold my interest."

First of all, you're missing at least two or three commas in this excerpt. Secondly, something like this, in my opinion, has no real need for first-person, and its usage seems a bit contrived. Just my opinion :3

conradtao
Emeritus
December 25th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Also, you'll need a period at the end of the review ; )

cvlts
December 25th 2010


8985 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

goddamn.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


31620 Comments


It's not a plug, but I touched on the fact that I don't care about all the unnecessary fluff that accompanies this band, I bought it up again here simply because this album kinda does away with that

I'm a little confused where you think the comma's should go, I looked back over it and it reads fine to me, even though I'm reading it how I would read it (obviously). Good catch on the period though

conradtao
Emeritus
December 25th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hmm, I think anytime you say "I mean" there ought to be a comma or something, so:




"I mean, I just want someone to paint a giant smile on his face, then give him a clip across the ears. And the rest of the album follows in a similar fashion; sure, 'Hillbilly Man' is surprisingly bouncy and delightful as a result, and 'The Joplin Spider' represents an interesting bump in the road with its retro leanings, but by the end of the album I just find myself not caring about what's just run through the speakers. I don't find myself invested enough to go back and hear it all again, simply because there's not enough to hold my interest."

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


31620 Comments


So that's one comma haha

conradtao
Emeritus
December 25th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Two, actually, and a word change ("at" to "about").

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


31620 Comments


No I caught the others but the only thing i would consider changing is the one comma, but even then the way i would say it would be without the pause. If enough people criticize it I'll consider changing it but it is my review and that's how I would say it (no offense of course, and thanks for the input)

conradtao
Emeritus
December 25th 2010


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sure, I totally understand.

I'm really disappointed with this, honestly.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


31620 Comments


I will change my rating for you potsy

Also, what were you godamn-ing about Geno?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


16922 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i like the first person usage, at least in this review. sweet review man even though i moderately disagree

Digging: Low Roar - 0

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


31620 Comments


Figured you might ;)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


16922 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i actually went into my review thinking a 2.5, but by the 3rd listen i started to hear things that made me think this is actually pretty good

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


31620 Comments


I was the opposite haha

Irving
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review Deviant. My two cents: I don't have any problems with the first person usage, and most noteworthy is the fact that you were able to serve up this piece as a flawless critique of album, method, and style. Which is saying something because there are only two paragraphs that actually deal with the music itself.

Have a hefty pos.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


16922 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you pessimist, you

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
December 25th 2010


16922 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice rating there irving



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