Given that Blur frontman Damon Albarn and visual artist Jamie Hewlett always intended Gorillaz to be a virtual/imaginary band, with cartoon characters as members, it’s amazing how much real-world attention is given to tours and studio releases by this increasingly physical project. Their fifth studio album, Humanz, features collaborations ranging from Grace Jones and Mavis Staples to De La Soul. Albarn wanted the lyrics and ambiance of the album to reflect a post-Brexit/post-Trump dystopia, but the politics and consciousness of the album still seem less explicit than Gorillaz’ 2005 Demon Days. Rather than searching for immediate headline references in “I Switched My Robot Off” or “Sex Murder Party,” it might be best to treat a Gorillaz album as the sonic equivalent of a Neil Gaiman or Philip K. Dick novel, one that documents, with offbeat humor, a world gone horribly wrong.
File next to: Kasabian, Blur, Flying Lotus
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