Home > News & Reviews > Gorillaz

Gorillaz - The Now Now (Album Review)

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 Written by Jacob Brookman

To music lovers of a certain age Gorillaz remain an afterthought: a secondary project after Damon Albarn’s best work with Blur.

One reason for this is Blur’s relevance within the cultural movement of Britpop. Their music is particularly effective at creating a sense of space (Britain) and time (the 1990s). But another reason is that Gorillaz are both more bland (read out and out pop) and more varied (reliant on collaborations) at the same time. This is also one of the key problems with ‘The Now Now’.

The album is conceived as a 2-D (Albarn’s character) solo project and duly it’s thin on collaborations and thematically isolated.

We open with Humility, on which the gentile guitar stylings of George Benson add to a breezy jam of sunny textures. The sound and lyrics are all Albarn; political, personal and playful, but as a lead single it’s a little lightweight.

Chunkier tones appear on the instrumental Lake Zurich and on Sorcererz, which demonstrates the group’s median sonic foundation; digital pop with either African-American or world music elements. The song opens boldly but doesn’t quite connect, possibly because it operates as a kind of synth soul jam, with the lyrics essentially a chanted accompaniment to the groove. “Everybody hold on, everybody cool down, everybody see yourself, ” and so on.

The issue is that the backbone of the track is not really strong enough to inspire the hypnotic trance effect that might be attained if it was arranged with real instruments. It strikes at the heart of Gorillaz’s patchy output, namely the tendency to serve up occasional pop dynamite padded out with intelligent, likeable mediocrity.

Albarn is in a pretty select group within music. A pop idol who has seen the bulk of his commercial success arrive after the age of 30, he is a national treasure who retains a seemingly red-eyed desire to keep innovating, performing and connecting.

But Gorillaz’s best work is generally borne out of the originality of their collaborations, and as such, ‘The Now Now’ is one of the weaker records in their catalogue. It still has some wonderful moments and there is nothing lazy here, but it actually recalls (arguably) Blur’s weakest record, ‘Think Tank’ - an album made with a quarter of the band missing.





Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!




You May Also Like:

Years & Years - Palo Santo (Album Review)
Thu 19 Jul 2018
On ‘Palo Santo’, Years & Years’ Olly Alexander embraces his identity as both a gay man and a pop star. Within the genre, LGBTQ+ representation has sometimes been either invisible or problematic, and Alexander redresses the balance with an album that revels in its enjoyment of the format while utilising its gloss to reveal deep, complex emotions.
James And The Charlatans Announce December Tour
Fri 13 Jul 2018
James and the Charlatans will tour the UK together in December.
Miles Kane Confirms UK Shows For Late 2018
Fri 06 Jul 2018
Miles Kane has announced a UK tour.
The Low Anthem Announce Summer UK Tour
Fri 27 Jul 2018
The Low Anthem will have lined up headline shows around their set at End of the Road Festival.
Alt-J Announce 'Reduxer' Hip-Hop Project Plus October UK and Ireland Shows
Tue 17 Jul 2018
Alt-J have announced UK and Ireland shows alongside news of 'Reduxer’.
We Were Promised Jetpacks Announce New Album 'The More I Sleep The Less I Dream' And Share New Track
Fri 20 Jul 2018
We Were Promised Jetpacks have announced details of their first album in four years.
Chvrches Announce February UK And Ireland Tour
Mon 16 Jul 2018
Chvrches have announced a UK and Ireland tour.
Brian Fallon Adds Extra Shows To Songs From The Hymnal Tour
Mon 09 Jul 2018
Brian Fallon has added two shows to his UK tour.
 
< Prev   Next >