Album of the month
Gorillaz 'Humanz' (Parlophone)
When Gorillaz performed at Manchester’s Opera House back in 2006, the guests included Shaun Ryder, Ike Turner (RIP), De La Soul and Neneh Cherry: alongside the animation, it was their job to help bring four cartoon members of Gorillaz to life onstage.
A decade on, one fellow Mixmag observer still describes the show as the best concert he’s ever witnessed – it’s hard to be cynical in the face of such joy-inducing music and theatricality. Fast-forward to the present day and Damon’s all-star band are back again with De La Soul and a whole new class of reprobates new (Vince Staples, Popcaan, Danny Brown and Kelela) and classic (Peven Everett and Grace Jones). If you’re a fan, you won’t be disappointed. ‘Momentz’ with De La Soul is just as bonkers-brilliant as ‘Dare’ was before it, while ‘Submission’ with Kelela and Danny Brown channels Little Dragon at their chorus-busting best. And ‘Charger’, with a demonic-sounding Jones sparring with Albarn, might be the album’s most deranged midnight moment (as well as one of the best things Gorillaz have ever done).
The other big standout moment is ‘Let Me Out’ featuring Mavis Staples and Pusha T, a reminder that only an act like Gorillaz can pull such disparate musical worlds together. Zebra Katz and Jamie Principle pop up on wonky electronic soul jam ‘Sex Murder Party’ before the LP closes with ‘We Got The Power’; featuring Savages singer Jehnny Beth, it’s probably the closest that Gorillaz get to a traditional three-minute pop single. “We got the power to do that!” they cry, and for a few minutes, you too will believe that (Hu)man can be a a cartoon, a superhero or even a Noodle. If you’re new to the zoo, prepare for a 20-track musical trip you won’t forget in a hurry. Ralph Moore