Review Summary: "...And then came a sound. Distant first, it grew into castrophany so immense it could be heard far away in space."
What has to be said about Gorillaz
that hasn't been spoken before? Intrinsically, it is a 'virtual band' that was established by Blur
frontman Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett; the latter is a comic book creator that people have heard about, explicitly in part of Hewlett being the co-creator of Tank Girl
and – to some extent – illustrating the cover art for Mindless Self Indulgence
's second full-length album, Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy
. They are renowned for their particular style of amalgamating genres, ranging from alternative rock, trip hop, electronica, and reggae, just to name a few.
Gorillaz is – to be completely honest – a terribly underrated collaboration that's been going on for a rather long while. Oh, sure, they might be commercially successful, but it typically seems as if quite a vocal minority in the world overlook their genius just because of the entire 'virtual band' gimmick. If you're uncertain as to what I'm babbling about, then simply have a gander at the group's music videos and artwork for all their releases – specifically the four studio albums. To summarize, Albarn is a virtuoso living up on melancholy hill, a location that leaves critics and the likes unsure as to whether or not it must be reached.
With all of this said and done, let me just get straight to the real point. In 2004, Gorillaz would go on to record their successor to their self-titled effort released during March 26, 2001; a year later, after the Demon Days
sessions were completed, said album would finally be made available in May 2005. Featuring 15 tracks in all – one less if you don't go out of your way to deem the CD's intro as an actual song – it was produced by Gorillaz mastermind Albarn alongside Danger Mouse. Gorillaz
, which was Demon Days
' antecedent, laid the foundation of the group's sound that Damon strived for. Although great at being a musically diverse batch of songs and having exhibited sensational lyrics, one can't help but wonder if Blur's head crumpet was really comfortable around this era.
Fortunately, Demon Days
exists to find a solution for the project's self-titled debut's minor setbacks and – if you're all down with that – much of the material is a substantial improvement. Sporting a more darker, theatrical vibe, each song appears to be a personification of somebody OR something confronting their personal demons. The listener is bound to go on a quest that involves tackling the melancholic (“El Mañana”), the – oddly enough - electronically-upbeat (“DARE”), and the probable hope spots (“Don't Get Lost in Heaven” and the title track). Much of it can be unsettling, though long-time Gorillaz fans are no stranger to the terror bottling up inside Demon Days
; just keep hearing the memorable “Clint Eastwood” and all the proof's in the pudding.
Appropriate for Gorillaz standards, Damon rounds up a number of contributors for this sophomore album. Some of the more notable guest artists include De La Soul on the infectious “Feel Good Inc.”, the now-deceased Dennis Hopper providing narration for the haunting presence of “Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head”, and Shaun Ryder on “DARE”; hip hop artist MF DOOM must also be given an honorable mention, for he compliments the urban, yet also raw feel of “November Has Come”. In general, all of the contributors who appeared throughout Demon Days
do their very best to join with Damon's distinctive vocals, without any bungles whatsoever.
The succinct production values oozing from the self-titled album's emotional antithesis are just wondrous. This crisp quality presents the instruments utilized on Demon Days
to be heard like the voice of an angel, ranging from Martina Topley-Bird's beautiful voice during the bridge of “All Alone” and the industrial (for lack of a better term) grit that “White Light” flaunts. Much like with everything else on this elegant powerhouse, the record's sounds are Gorillaz
taken up to eleven. To sum it all up in two words: beauteously crafted.
By and large, Demon Days
is a fantastic record that Damon Albarn and collaborators were able to conjure up. Containing little-to-none accidents and a more-than-confident Albarn dwelling within a hopeless, plastic beach, this was THE album by which you'll convince yourself to give more than a mere chance. It's not revolutionary by any means, but it definitely shows how to adequately meld genres and emotions together without coming off as a pigsty.