There's a reason that all of my reviews have been favorable of late. Plainly
stated, its due to unemployment. Being one of the many dislocated Dot-Comers,
I have to be choosy with the music that I purchase. It's time to tighten
my belt financially and I frankly cannot afford to buy everything I see.
I find myself researching my purchases more thoroughly before I take
them up to the counter and often I have to make some pretty tough decisions.
It's all about sacrifice, baby.
The wonderful Matador Records keeps the promos a-coming and we have managed
at Free Williamsburg to get on a couple of other lists (Kranky, Lost Highway,
Tresor, ~Scape) but all in all, purchases are still coming out of my own
That said, when I heard that Dan the Automator played a key role in a
new release, I knew that my money would be well spent. After all, he's
the funkiest producer since Prince Paul and is responsible for such classics
as the wonderful Dr. Octagon and Handsome Boy Modeling School.
Gorillaz is a "super group" of sorts showcasing the talents
of The Automator, Blur's Damon Albarn, Del the Funkee Homosapien, Kid
Koala, Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori, and the Tom Tom Club's Tina Weymouth
and Chris Frantz and their premiere full-length release is (excuse the
ad-ready hook) the party album of the summer.
I'm getting older now, but I miss the days when a great, bass-heavy pop
release would arrive (think Check Your Head, Low End Theory,
or Odelay) to rock every house party that you went to and subsequently
would become the anthem for your summer. Gorillaz, just might be
this year's best candidate for this prestigious title.
It is insanely pop, insanely silly, and unlike Automator's Handsome
Boy Modeling School, Gorillaz has a flow that never seems disjointed.
Influences are all across the board borrowing most predominantly from
Hip Hop, but traces of Beck and Portishead are to be found here as well.
The obvious hit is the previously released "Clint Eastwood"
with Del the Funkee Homosapien actually living up to his name for a change.
He single-handedly ruined Deltron 3030 with his constipated rhyming
style. Songs such as the bass-heavy "Left Hand Suzuki Method"
as well as "54" with its perfect vocal treatment by Albarn and
its hilarious chorus "she turned my dad on" are not to be missed.
Automator is the funkiest he has been since Dr. Octagon with original
samples, and subtle electronic maneuvering. What really works well on
Gorillaz is the vocal/rap interplay between Alborn, Hatori, and Del
on the microphones. And forgetting to mention Kid Koala on the turntables
would be a travesty, because he is at his phattest. Yes this is the type
of album that inspires a white boy like me to say Phat.
I gotta split now.. "19-2000" is rocking my speakers with Hatori's
honey vocals and it's time to drink a beer and party. Unemployment's not
Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn,
| July 2001 | Issue 16
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