Gorillaz, the genre shifting cartoon band are back with Humanz, seven years after the wild styles of Plastic Beach. or six years after the random iPad doodles that made up The Fall, if you must. This time round it’s a dance hop party, everyone is invited, and all you have to bring is a willingness to ascend. It’s all up from here.
The all night dance party experiments with the idea of ascension, with brief elevator intermissions breaking up the show to indicate a shift in mood is approaching. It starts with a certain positive vibe, De La Soul singing about the ‘Momentz’ in a way which will initially annoy, till it finally hooks to you brainz so you can finally lose yourself in the momentz. Higher up the melancholy sets in, Albarn doing his trademark Blur drawl on ‘Blue and Busted’ we all know so well, the only time we really step out of the party for some air.
The rest is meant to be when we go off the rails, the party now out of control, reflecting the political uncertainly we currently face, but when you’ve been listening to other contemporary hip hop (or Butthole Surfers) back-to-back, this madness feels mighty tame, a madness more focused on being coherent with the rest of the album than being totally free. It’s an album which wants to be played at a real party, which is so very human…z.
P.S. Deluxe edition required for full enjoyment. You’ll never reach the top without it.