Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Review: Gorillaz- Plastic Beach

Damon Albarn and his make believe band of misfits, the Gorillaz, are back for a third outing in Plastic Beach and, while the least radio friendly of the batch, we end up with another collection of fantastic ditties blending hip-hop, funk, techno, rock and one of the most random assortments of collaborators known to man.

Following the orchestral intro, Snoop Dogg bids you “Welcome to the Plastic Beach” in his laid back, gangsta drawl. One of the less exciting tracks, “Welcome” may have worked better appearing elsewhere on the album.

As is, things don’t really get rolling for me until track four, the brilliant “Rhinestone Eyes.” What follows is a series of twelve tracks, all of high quality, coming together to make a bright, summery contrast to Gorillaz’s second, darker album, Demon Days. Like a trip to an actual beach, this Plastic variety is a relaxing concoction.

Mos Def appears on two tracks, the first single “Stylo” and “Sweepstakes,” while other notable contributions are made by Bobby Womack, Mark Smith and Lou Reed, of all people.

With Plastic Beach, no single track stands out as the album’s anthem. From the sweeping opening, provided by Sinfonia Viva, to the concluding “Pirate Jet,” none of the songs are likely to get played at the club or on your favorite station. In short, don’t go in looking for “Clint Eastwood” or “Feel Good Inc.” this time around.

Instead, we have sixteen tracks of tech-hop coming and going like rolling waves that blend as smoothly as the genres and artists being thrown into the mix. I highly recommend it.

(For an added bit Where’s Waldo fun, keep your ears out for the word “plastic” in nearly every track.)

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