Music Reviews

Music Reviews

PLASTIC BEACH
Gorillaz
Virgin Records, Rs 395

When will we stop consuming?

Gorillaz are a British virtual band created in 1998 by Damon Albarn of Britpop band Blur, and Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl. The term virtual band was popularised with Gorillaz in 2000, although there have been other virtual bands. Another popular virtual band of recent times is Crazy Frog. Virtual bands use different animation and recording techniques to achieve their desired effect such as computer animation, traditional animation, vocal mixing and sound manipulation.

Gorillaz comprises four animated band members: 2D (lead vocalist, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (lead guitar and occasional vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). The band’s music is a collaboration between various musicians, Albarn being the only permanent musical contributor. Their style is a composition of multiple musical genres, with a large number of their influences including: dub, hip hop, alternative rock, electronic and pop music.

While the popularity of virtual bands itself is fading, Gorillaz have come out with their third studio album, Plastic Beach (after Gorillaz and Demon Days). It features guest appearances by several artists, including Snoop Dogg, Gruff Rhys, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Lou Reed, Mick Jones, and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Primarily a pop album, Plastic Beach contains lyrics concerning consumerism and ecology-related themes.
After an ‘orchestral Intro’, Snoop Dogg raps his contribution to ‘Welcome To The World Of The Plastic Beach’. For sheer variety you have ‘White Flag’, featuring Bashy, Kano and The National Orchestra for Arabic Music, a track which has Shinto music and traces of Bollywood. ‘Rhinestone Eyes’ is a blend of 80s synths and skipping chants, while ‘Stylo’ is a synthesis of Bobby Womack’s soulful croon and Mos Def’s raps. ‘Superfast Jellyfish’ featuring Gruff Rhys and De La Soul is particularly interesting. Empire Ants featuring Little Dragon is balladic and ‘On Melancholy Hill’ is 80s style pop. The celebrity guest list includes Lou Reed’s ‘Some Kind of Nature’ and Mark E Smith on ‘Glitter Freeze.’”The scope of Plastic Beach is indeed mindboggling.

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