“Plastic Beach” by Gorillaz

In the 9 years it’s been since the Gorillaz have come into existence they’ve really grown up. But unlike the Rugrats, they’ve ditched their spiked punk bracelets while keeping the inter-band drama. Birthed by bassist Murdoc’s desire for fame and fortune, he gathered up the most unusual bandmates and hit it big time. And my, what an adventure it’s been.

Along the way, they used a haunted studio, opened a gateway to hell, lost their guitarist in a flying island crash, rebuilt the guitarist as an android with her DNA, and are now stuck on an island that is at the farthest possible point from any dry land in the world. Oh, and it’s made out of a bunch of plastic which just so happened to float there. All of this happened while they were making some of the most forward-thinking genre bending music out there.

Plastic Beach continues their story, as well as their penchant for making great tunes. The band’s love for mashing styles delivers experimental hip-hop wrapped in an 80s era synth fuzz and funk. The usage of Orchestras helps add a welcome layer of complexity on tracks like “White Flag” as well as standing by themselves in the album’s intro. The music has also racked up quite a few frequent flyer miles, and have picked up quite a few grass skirts and hit the coconut rum on the ride home. The island music influences allow for even further diversity amongst the songs in the album.

The list of special guests is impressive as always, the number of collaborators is stunning. The tracks featuring Little Dragon are especially beautiful, and Womack’s soulful bellowing on “Stylo” is a force indeed. But having so many other voices on display forces Damon Albarn’s voice out of the spotlight, which is one of the things that has remained constant about Gorillaz music since the beginning. But perhaps that is just another way for Gorillaz to continue the tradition of a fresh sound. Plastic Beach never stops sounding fresh and will please long-time fans as well as continue to win over new fans.

And for those of us who had to put up with the Snowpocalypse 2010, this album is a great way to celebrate the coming of warm weather.

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Published in: on March 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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