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VOGEL: Gorillaz comeback revives band

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Photo via commons.wikimedia.com.

Photo via commons.wikimedia.com.

Photo via commons.wikimedia.com.

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Just when Gorillaz fans thought they should hang up their cartoon t-shirts and stop playing PS2, the band revived itself.

Since the release of “Feel Good Inc.,” in 2005, nothing received as much attention as their hit song, which was considered the band’s peak by many. But their April 28 release, “Humanz,” proves they are as strong as ever.

The album contains 26 songs and features artists such as Vince Staples, Pusha T and Rag’n’Bone Man, among others.

The album is hard to categorize by genre. But then again, that’s always been the band’s style. The overall album vibe is mayhem, in a good way. They go beyond boring, traditional song structure on nearly every track, which is not at all surprising, considering their history.

The album starts with a strange 23-second intro track, which seems like typical Gorillaz. But when the intro ends, track two comes in with a powerful, familiar voice: it’s Vince Staples’. His voice is an immediate ear-opener and shows that Gorillaz is back with a bang. The song is appropriately called “Ascension,” as it certainly starts the album off with promise.

The next track, “Strobelite,” has an unforgettable vibe. It seems that Gorillaz aimed for a hip-hop and R&B album. So far, they absolutely nailed it. They switch back to hip-hop following “Strobelite” with “Saturnz Barz,” which features Popcaan. This is an interesting pick for a feature, as Popcaan is a lesser known Jamaican DJ, but his rap vocals on the track sound amazing. His Jamaican accent gives Gorillaz a new sound that keeps one feeling on edge but happy, and his vocals accompany David Albarn’s nostalgic voice nicely. 

A standout song on the album is “Let Me Out,” which features two incredibly interesting artists: Mavis Staples and Pusha T. Pusha T’s rap fits the traditional Gorillaz hip-hop vibe, but Mavis offers something totally new. Her powerful, feminine voice carries the song and makes it a front runner for best song on the album. This song showed just how much versatility Gorillaz are capable of. With the duo’s unbelievable mix of talents and incorporation of electronic hip-hop style, they can make nearly anyone sound good no matter the genre of the artists being featured.

The album definitely has that classic Gorillaz feel to it with mostly minor key songs that make one feel a bit uneasy. There is a heavy amount of nostalgia for Gorillaz fans hearing Albarn’s voice again.

Overall, the album achieves what it was meant to do, and that is to reestablish the musical talent of Gorillaz and remind fans they are still around. The features on the album do not take away from the success of the album at all.”Humanz” is another masterpiece, tastefully dusted with unique features, and it arrived just before Gorillaz fans forgot about them.

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