Gorillaz: Cracker Island.. Your album review


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Your favourite virtual inhabitants from a digital world are back and with it, comes the bolstered eerie cultist ethos of Cracker Island.

It is their eighth expansive studio album with an eye-wateringly exciting roster of collaborators including {but not limited to} Thundercat, Tame Impala, Beck and Bad Bunny.

On Cracker Island it was born/To the collective of the dawn/They were planting seeds at night/To grow a made-up paradise/Where the truth was auto-tuned (forever cult)…”

Highly satisfying and conventional at the highest compound, the cartoon misfits all remind us just exactly why we fell in love with the sound of Gorillaz some-20 years ago. Of course, Cracker Island draws up smooth comparisons with their 2010 triumph, Plastic Beach, as both conjure up thematic representations of desolate retreats to escape the fruitless lust of modern contemporary society – either through the decay of fame and money or even through the hideous morality of a “cracked screen world.” For the brainchild of Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett, it’s a cult classic as the 2-bit indie-funk inflections make up for a smooth ride of easy listenin.’ While Cracker Island peers up unnerving tempo with high-intensity techno synths and funky Thundercat licks, woozy swansong Oil is accompanied with Fleetwood’s Stevie Nicks; who is certainly no stranger to conjuring up idled dreams.

The Tired Influencer draws close to the Plastic Beach shoreline no doubt, as it draws deep into cutthroat mentality of a damaged society lost. Some may argue that it’s a conversation piece that has long since had its time in the sun, especially in the industry – hell, 2-D and co have been doing it since Demon Days but if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Fairy-like companions to the dark maths that catapult
Us into imagined worlds, seems a mockery remoteOil, Stevie Nicks + 2-D

Oil, Stevie Nicks + 2-D

Omotayo’s Silent Running is a subtle companion to the rocky tides interlaced with piano trills while New Gold – standout for the mantle, is universally Tame Impala: euphoric electronica – who just happens to feature on it, mind – aswell as Bootie Brown, who has worked with Damon on Dirty Harry 18 years ago now. Even better is Baby Queen is an immersive synth-heavy dream-pop fit for the peel-back Queen herself dabbling in the genesis pool.

Tarantula is a misshapen anomaly on the album that rarely gets going, as Alban’s repetitive quips begin to bludgeon on the brain – but is acceptable for one fall-back at this stage. Again, Tormenta is more a Bad Bunny single than it is a Gorillaz one and conjures up the overstuffed feeling you get when you sit down and try to unmask the likes of 2017’s HUMANZ. We’re corrected back on course however, with Skinny Ape – a systematic experiment of dosed sounds and imperfections brought to full throttle at the double-time breakdown at the thought of an adventure for all – in a new world, don’t be sad for me.

As all Gorillaz albums go, it does it’s best attempt to end on a triumphant high despite the mass sprawling of warnings littered throughout the track listing. They bring along the ubiquitous artist, Beck for the final message on Possession Island, a fond food-for-thought at the airport lounge before departure that we should get along with one another more often. A glaring return for a collective that has been under the guillotine for some years – and as eighth albums go, it ain’t bad at all.


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