24 Apr 2017

Gorillaz - Humanz (album review)

Damon Albarn and his animated band are back with their highly anticipated come back record Humanz. It’s loaded with clangers, but even more bangers.

Vince Staples opens the record rapping the hook over police sirens; there’s just something about Staples’s voice that makes him sound spectacular over sirens. The track Saturnz Barz is an early standout standout. It’s a brilliant reimagining of the bands cartoonish melancholic sound and it is kinda trap influenced which shows us Damon is down with the kids. Also no amount of fire emojis could ever sum up Popcann’s feature on this track (I’m down with the kids too).

De La Soul are on this album; no their track is’nt as good as Feel Good Inc. But is that possible? The track in question Momentz, and it is one of the most fun songs I’ve heard this year, from the childish vocals on the chorus to the Kanye style vocals in the verse, this track should have been the lead single. And following on, Danny Brown tears upart the beat on Submission which is probably the most challenging song on the tracklist, Kelela also adds a lot of character to this track.

This second half of Humanz frails in comparison to the first unfortunately. However, I heard the track Busted and Blue a while ago and wasn’t all that impressed. It does work better in context here though; it’s a much needed break from the explosive first half of the album. But my relationship with this song isn’t the most fruitful as it marks the end of the fun infectious songs on the album. I’d go as far to say that past this point there aren’t any tracks I’d like to hear again. They’re not bad just annoyingly forgettable.

Let Me Out sounds like a B-Side, and the appearances from Mavis Staples and Pusha T are very underwhelming. And god, Damon Albarn just discharges drivel out his mouth; it sounds like he wrote these lyrics 5 minutes before recording.

The real low points of Humanz come in the tail end of the record the final two tracks Halleluiah Money and We Got The Power are truly dreadful. Especially the latter, the corny chorus is extremely tedious and just doesn’t compliment the bizarre Jehnny Beth feature.

The positives outweigh the negatives here though as there's too many outstanding moments to say this isn’t a good album. The production is quirky, bombastic and infectious and Gorilaz succeed in what they do best which is utilizing guest vocalists.

7.0/10

(Words: Aimee Armstrong)