The world’s first Virtual Reality band and back with their third release, this time with a multitude of guests.
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
Albarn has put all his music industry contacts into one bucket and lavishly srprayed the contents over Plastic Beach. The list of guest appearances are longer than the song titles themselves and give the album a confused melded sound that wasnt broken in the first place.
In face most of the highlights feature Albarns melancholic vocals like on lead single Stylo and the downturned dance driven electro sounds of On Melancholy Hill. The rest of the album is too influenced by its vocals. Welcome To The World of The Plastic Beach sounds like a mediocre Snoop Dog track, Bashy and Kano rap over a nintendo soundtrack while Mos Def does likewise with Sweepstakes.
Its those tunes which still have the Gorillaz tag all over it which bring out the best in the collaborators. Mark E Smith of The Fall using his rough working class vocals over peaking and troughing electro beeper on Glitter Freeze is brilliant. So is De La Soul & Gruff Rhys implanting a light guitar line and indie pop ethos alongside the hip hop influences.
This is in no way a classic album as its mix matching beats hits and miss in equal quantity. It is great if you like your hip hop just a bit indie, but those who love the singles, there isn’t a great deal to reccommend.
Mr Flowers Says:
After the instrumental intro, Welcome To The World of The Plastic Beach kicks off the album promisingly with a flurry of brass instruments before regrettably degenerating into something mostly forgettable. White Flag offers a bit more bite with help from British Grime artists Bashy and Kano, but represents a rare hip-hop highlight on album where the rap moments aren’t cutting enough.
Some of the collaborations with alt-rock stars fare a bit better; Glitter Freeze features Mark E Smith and certainly has a The Fall vibe to it even with the guitars stripped out, and Some Kind of Nature with it’s cartoony pipe-based melody and deep vocals from Lou Reed works well. Having said that, the Gruff Rhys (of SFA) and Mick Jones/Paul Simonon (of The Clash) collabs are disappointingly drab affairs.
Other songs to listen for are perhaps: Mos Def collaboration, Sweepstakes, that takes a while to get going but builds to a hip-hop/brass instrument boogie by the halfway point; and closer Pirate Jet, one of the few Albarn-led songs on the album that doesn’t bore you to tears.
In the end, Plastic Beach suffers from the lack of enough songs that represent great hip-hop or great rock to really standout as a record.
DoesItRock Overall Score: 6/10
Listen to Gorillaz – Plastic Beach now on Spotify!