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The Gorillaz claim to have found their motley crew of cartoon characters sleeping in Leicester Square, but Blur's Damon Albarn (a.k.a. 2-D) and cult cartoonist Jamie Hewlett (Murdoc) aren't fooling anyone. As the ultimate experiment in manufactured image, the Gorillaz are a virtual cartoon-character-based hip-hop band who bring together witty, silly lyrics and talented musicians.
"Infectious old-school hip-hop rhythms, rhymes, and effects courtesy of Deltron 3030's Kid Koala and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien (Russel) are combined with Albarn's passion for chugging lo-fi and edgy melodies to create a seemingly raw but ultimately slick blend of styles. This is nowhere more evident than on the hit single 'Clint Eastwood,' which is carried along by the sound of 2-D's slurred voice and a bluesy harmonica melody interrupted by Russel's punching rhymes. But the surprises don't stop there: Ibrahim Ferrer's appearance on 'Latin Simone' could have come straight from Buena Vista Social Club but for the obvious Blur-influenced piano style, while the spooky intro to 'M1 A1' wouldn't sound out of place on Michael Jackson's Thriller. Backed by Jamie Hewlett's death-wish character on bass, Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori (Noodle) on guitar and occasional hyperactive vocals, and produced by Dan 'the Automator' Nakamura, it's hardly surprising that Gorillaz is marked both by a sense of playfulness and a passion for experimentation." — Amazon.com
"It's tempting to judge Gorillaz — Damon Albarn, Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, and Dan 'The Automator' Nakamura's virtual band — just by their brilliantly animated videos and write the project off as another triumph of style over substance. Admittedly, Hewlett's edgy-cute characterizations of 2-D, Gorillaz' pretty boy singer (who looks a cross between the Charlatans' Tim Burgess and Sonic the Hedgehog), sinister bassist Murdoc, whiz-kid guitarist Noodle, and b-boy drummer Russel are so arresting that they almost detract from Gorillaz' music. The amazing 'Thriller'-meets-Planet of the Apes clip for 'Clint Eastwood' is so visually clever that it's easy to take the song's equally clever, hip-hop-tinged update of the Specials' 'Ghost Town' for granted. And initially, Gorillaz' self-titled debut feels incomplete when Hewlett's imagery is removed; the concept of Gorillaz as a virtual band doesn't hold up as well when you can't see the virtual bandmembers. It's too bad that there isn't a DVD version of Gorillaz, with videos for every song, à la the DVD version of Super Furry Animals' Rings Around the World. Musically, however, Gorillaz is a cutely caricatured blend of Albarn's eclectic Brit-pop and Nakamura's equally wide-ranging hip-hop, and it sounds almost as good as the band looks." — AllMusic
|1. Re-Hash||2. 5/4||3. Tomorrow Comes Today||4. New Genius (Brother)||5. Clint Eastwood||6. Man Research (Clapper)||7. Punk||8. Sound Check (Gravity)||9. Double Bass||10. Rock The House||11. 19-2000||12. Latin Simone||13. Starshine||14. Slow Country||15. M1 A1||16. Clint Eastwood|