Gorillaz – Humanz
Release: 28th April 2017
Label: Warner Brothers, Parlophone
Producers: Damon Albarn,
Guests: Vince Staples, D.R.A.M., Jenny Beth, Pusha T, Popcaan
Singles: Ascension, Saturnz Barz, We Got The Power, Andromeda
Gorillaz are a group who have defied convention from the get-go. Being born out of the music direction of Damon Albarn of Blur, and brought to life with the creative talents of Tank Girl author Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz are of course one of few virtual/fictional bands to ever of existed, and by far the most successful. Following a well-received third project, followed by the forgotten about The Fall, the Gorillaz project has led dormant for nearly seven years, finally resurrected earlier this year, in which announcing their fifth studio album- Humanz.
The Gorillaz of 2017 feel a world away from the noughties-era Gorillaz, with their identity and direction even more confusing and cryptic. Particularly since Demon Days, Jamie Hewlett’s involvement in the band is so meagre, that Gorillaz have lost, literally speaking, half of their image. Their band’s directionless movements into 2017 are no more epitomised by the animations of the members themselves, 2D, then 3D, then photorealist, then drawings again, then computer animations being interviewed, just what are Gorillaz?
Although I can humour the fact that Gorillaz are supposed to be living in an animated off-the-cuff world filled with obscurities, this album is so much more beyond that. In what’s tipped as some of kind of political apocalypse, there is just so much going on that its message, content, and worst of all, its guest artists are all lost in a hazy animated blur of nonsensical thought processes and half-hearted inspirations.
Humanz doesn’t feel anything like a Gorillaz album. It’s crowded with way too many guests, so many of which were just completely unnecessary, Danny Brown in particular. The direction is amazingly scattered, with Albarn desperate to pull elements from each and every genre under the sun, and plonk it on a project more receptive than Blur or his solo material. While the Vince Staples-featuring Ascension, and the Popcaan-helmed Saturnz Barz may stand as some of Gorillaz’ best material, they’re not enough to distract from the bores of Hallelujah Money or She’s My Collar, or the six, yes six interludes.
Verdict – WW