As it turns out, the tracks are actually from an album called The Fall, that I had never known about. It was apparently recorded on Damon Albarn’s ipad while he was on tour, and released through his website. Since this is the first I’m hearing of it, I feel like a terrible fan. Eh…this is what I get for keeping up with Asia’s pop scene rather than the UK’s.
Now, the Gorillaz are my favorite band, so I hold them to standards that are a bit higher than others. How did I feel about these new tracks, Amarillo, and Revolving Doors? Here’s the verdict, starting with Revolving Doors.
• Without a collaborator, 2D’s vocals really sine through on this track. His laid back moaning voice is unique and refreshing, and really works with the instrumentals to create an lazy “anything goes” type of sound.
• The music is typical Gorilliaz, which essentially means it sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard from them before. I really liked the inclusion of the ukulele being played over the chilled out bass.
• It’s a plucly little number with a melody that can easily get stuck in your head.
The Bad;• It’s a bit reminiscent of Blur’s sound, and it sounds even closer to a Damon Albarn solo track. That’s not necessarily bad for the track itself, but maybe the name “Gorillaz” shouldn’t have been placed on it?
• When compared to most other Gorillaz tracks, this one is kind of…well, dull.
The Verdict; 2/5
Now, like I said, I’m holding the Gorillaz to high standards. I do really like this track, but I don’t love it. It’s simply not as captivating as their other material. IN fact, it’s a bit boring, and doesn’t really have that Gorillaz flair. Yes, I applaud the band for taking on a different sound (again), but different isn’t always best. In this case, bland wasn’t the type of different that I wanted.
The Good;• The track really feels like a Gorillaz track. Simply put, that means I have no earthly idea how to describe it. It’s got a hard driving, but laid back beat that creates a dreamy atmosphere with a catchy melody.
• 2D’s trademark low-key, moaning vocals really give the track a unique charm.
• It’s reminiscent of “El Manana” in an odd way. They aren’t at all similar, just in the same vein.
• Even though the beat stays the same throughout most of the song, it never becomes stagnant. Its more of a slow and steady stream that keeps flowing, and it never really becomes tiresome to listen to.
The Bad;• While this is definitely closer to what we’ve come to expect from the Gorillaz, it still leaves room for improvement. Perhaps if it was refined in the studio, it could live up to the Gorillaz’s great hits like “El Manana” and “Melancholy Hill.”
The Verdict; 4/5
I feel like Amarillo could have easily been on either of the Gorillaz three other albums. It’s got that signature Gorillaz sound, while still being unique and groundbreaking. It’s hypnotic and dream like beat is simply captivating. This track, while not better than the Gorillaz previous material, can proudly stand alongside their past hits.