Plastic BeachAlbum |
Sifting through the detritus of modern civilization to create something new from its discards.
When Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett began this album over two years ago, they originally said it wouldn't be released under the Gorillaz name, and indeed, the cartoon-band mythology has been largely jettisoned. (No big loss, really: honestly, did anyone really understand all that?) Instead, Plastic Beach is an oblique concept album about...well, recycling. Not recycling as in earnest songs about sorting out your plastics and aluminum cans, but recycling as a metaphor for life in general and pop music in particular: sifting through the detritus of modern civilization to create something new from its discards. In keeping with that bricolage concept, Albarn and Hewlett have expanded the guest-star cameos of previous Gorillaz albums into full-fledged writing and producing collaborations with a galaxy of stars ranging from Bobby Womack to Mark E. Smith, resulting in entertaining collisions like "Superfast Jellyfish," which mashes daffy De La Soul raps about breakfast cereals to a psychedelic-toytown chorus by Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys, and the Lou Reed goes trip-hop "Some Kind of Nature." There's not one single track as intoxicating as Demon Days' "Feel Good Inc.," but somewhat surprisingly given the mile-long list of collaborators, Plastic Beach hangs together as a whole better than either of the previous Gorillaz efforts.