Spun: Gorillaz

By Garth Paulson

No one would have believed a cartoon trip-hop band composed of the egomaniacal co-genius behind Blur, an obscure producer, the cousin of Ice Cube and a jumble of guest collaborators would achieve the resounding success the Gorillaz did with their 2001 self-titled debut. Yet, somehow they managed to not only score a couple of crossover hits they also sold millions of albums. Well, now it’s 2005 and the Gorillaz have accomplished an even more surprising task–recording a second album which surpasses their debut.

Where Gorillaz sounded like an excellent compilation of songs, its follow up, Demon Days, sounds like a proper album from a proper band. This is likely due to Damon Albarn clearly assuming control of the direction of the group. Gone are collaborators Dan the Automator and Del tha Funkee Homosapien in favour of Danger Mouse and an all-star line-up from hip-hop’s underground, resulting in a much more cohesive affair. Demon Days flows from song to song with magnificent ease never taking listeners through the occasionally abrasive shifts found on Gorillaz.

The middle section of the album, composed of the songs “O Green World,” “Dirty Harry,” “Feel Good Inc.,” and “El Manana,” is simply stunning, mixing copious amounts of sonic experimentation with impossibly catchy hooks. Though, Demon Days does drop off somewhat after this point, it is still an impressive, and highly unlikely, album. It may not result in the same degree of commercial success as its predecessor, but it will go a long way towards convincing skeptics the Gorillaz are significantly more than novelty.

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