A band whose emergence marked the return of Damon Albarn to the music industry’s post-Blur fallout, and whose announcements of return from a seemingly indefinite hiatus has well and truly excited music fans around the world. Being one of the best live acts of the past couple of decades with their breath-taking visual effects, and producing some downright wacky music videos (Feel Good Inc etc.), Gorillaz set a new standard for alternative music in the quiescence that followed the infamous Britpop wars of the 90s. Gorillaz blended genres to produce new, unfamiliar and intriguing sounds. Their eponymous debut and follow-up album ‘Demon Days’ were met with widespread critical acclaim (aside from the Mercury Prize’s board of judges), and became two of the most definitive albums of the last decade, with Metacritic compilation ratings of 71/100 and 82/100 respectively. Anxiety-ridden teenage ‘indie kids’ lapped up both of these LPs, and for good reason as they filled the hole left by the decline of Britpop superpowers – the on-going deterioration of Oasis being one of the last players standing. (Disclaimer – I don’t include Oasis’ final act ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ in the aforementioned deterioration!)
‘Gorillaz’ and ‘Demon Days’ were followed up by Plastic Beach and The Fall after the run of the decade. The dizzy heights of the critical and commercial success of these LPs did not quite match those of their predecessors, but there is still much optimism regarding a new album potentially being released by the end of the year. Albarn & Co. rarely fail to produce something of note, and whilst the last album before their extended hiatus ‘The Fall’ did not reach the standard they’d previously set for themselves, it did still contain songs created on Albarn’s iPad of considerable quality.
What we have been told to expect from Gorillaz is an album before the end of the year. Optimism around this release is permitted, thanks to Albarn ditching his iPad is favour of his bandmates and the simple fact that this rag-tag bunch are, however clichéd it sounds, due a return to their imperious form. Perhaps they won’t appeal to those in the dawn of their teenage years, what with their pre-occupation with the industry-bred One Directions of the world. However, I have no reservations in declaring the excitement of those in their teenage twilights and beyond, for whom Gorillaz played a huge part in shaping their musical horizons. No release or hint of reunion has personally excited me more this year.
Gorillaz – don’t let me down!