Review: Gorillaz – ‘Humility’

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'Humility' is a carefree track, ideal for the summer sun.

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Surprise! Gorillaz have a new album releasing later this month, titled The Now Now, in what represents a relatively short hiatus for the cartoon band (after their comeback Humanz dropped just last year). Humanz was a frenetic project with a plethora of guest features, somewhat short on vocals from the band’s fictional frontman 2-D – aka Britpop icon Damon Albarn. If lead single ‘Humility’ is anything to go by, The Now Now will place the focus firmly back onto 2-D and Albarn. In the same way their fourth studio album The Fall quickly followed in the footsteps of 2010’s Plastic Beach, The Now Now seems to be the creative residue left over from the more glamorous, star-studded Humanz. In an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 radio, Albarn described The Now Now as “pretty much just me singing, very sort of in the world of 2-D”.

‘Humility’ is a chilled track. The vibrant music video finds 2-D roller skating on sunny Venice Beach, and it’s very much a laid-back summer tune. Jack Black certainly seems to be having fun, the lovable School of Rock actor featuring in the video casually strumming on the guitar (though it’s actually jazz guitarist George Benson on the audio). There’s nothing particularly inventive for Gorillaz here sound-wise, but if you enjoy Albarn’s relaxed vocals on a cheery beat (who doesn’t?) it’ll do the trick. I’m personally still waiting for another Gorillaz song that really pops, like ‘Clint Eastwood’ or ‘Feel Good Inc.’, but memorable hooks haven’t been in their interest for some time. If the music’s still good, however, catchiness doesn’t matter too much.

What ‘Humility’ does signify for Gorillaz is a major change in the virtual roster. Murdoc Niccals, the band’s bassist, has landed himself in jail. For the sake of producing The Now Now, he’s been replaced by Ace – the leader of the Gangreen Gang from the Cartoon Network show The Powerpuff Girls. It’s a intriguing direction for the Gorillaz lore to take, bringing on a character from another animated property, but Ace’s personality doesn’t seem too conflicting with Murdoc’s devilish ways. As exhibit, he’s introduced here popping a basketball with a handy pocketknife – leaving those playing a bit miffed. Though with his tormentor Murdoc gone, 2-D finally looks happy. That’s what The Now Now is shaping up to be. An essentially happy record. In these often dreary times, that should be nice.

‘Humility’ is out now via Parlophone. The Now Now will be released on 29th June. 

 

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Second year Film student. Likes all things movies.

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