It’s been nine years since the the worlds first virtual hip hop band spawned from the imaginations of Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. And the Gorillaz are now back with their latest installment, Plastic Beach. They may appear to dance on the fringe of pop, but do not under estimate the global fever pitch anything new from these guys creates.
Hewlett and Albarn cooked up the idea for the band in protest at the cartoon images of the popular commercial acts at the time, and the result was an ironic backfire as their popularity exploded. In 2006, a rumours of a rare live performance in Harlem led to tickets being sold in less than an hour from release. Their last release, Demon Days was the 5th biggest selling album of 2005, so this has a lot to live up to.
And they’ve returned with guns blazing. As ever, the collaborations are as eclectic as the musical style it’s self. Mark E Smith of post punkers The Fall, Snoop, Lou Reed and Bobby Womack all lend vocals to chunky hip hop beats, and bass lines so solid you could build a skyscraper on them. You can listen to the entire album at the Guardian.
The art and characters of Jamie Hewlett account for a massive part of the appeal of the Gorillaz experience, and this hasn’t been ignored with the supporting release media. The new website allows you explore the Gorlliaz’ new home for yourself and fully immerse yourself in the lives of band members 2D, Russell, Murdoch and Noodle.
This time round, visual media is playing a more predominant role. Idents focusing on characters stories have been released, along with an orchestral introduction to the Plastic Beach environment. They’ve even recruited a demented Bruce Willis hit man for the video for the debut single Stylo.
Doing what most bands so after momentousness success, for the past few years they’ve been living somewhere on the south Pacific on their own island. Unfortunately for the Gorillaz, the island is made up of the washed up debris of humanity – visit the Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach