There are people that won't understand Damon Albarn's need for such an elaborate marketing ploy as Gorillaz, but you don’t argue with success. The project's first release sold more than a million copies in the US alone, and that is probably reason enough to create yet another album which features the animated figures as band members instead of just stating Damon and some of his other Blur associates as the culprits.
A few changes were made this time, the biggest one probably is the change of producer, instead of the last album's Dan The Automator the band works with Dangermouse, not as well known but certainly proving his worth here. The same basic formula remains, the talents of Albran and Co. merged with some interesting hop-hop artists and other well known guests, and a much higher amount of electronic sounds infused into the music.
There's a definite dark streak throughout the album, the intro contains sound samples from “Dawn Of The Dead” which connect nicely with “Last Living Souls”, a lot of electronic bleeps and burps convey what is a standard Gorillaz number, Albarn's voice is the usual focal point here.
Things turn into a different direction with “Kids With Guns”, a typically rich sound, nice rhythm and some good backing vocals from Neneh Cherry. The first single from the album – “Feel Good Inc.” is also one of the best tracks in this, the bass line is fantastic, and a great vocal delivery from Albarn, as well as an unexpected turn from veteran rappers De La Soul, the orchestral bridge is a great idea on its own.
Some other well known artists guest here, Dare features the Happy Mondays' Shaune Rider in one of his best performances in years, that is followed by a reading section courtesy of Dennis Hooper. The main thing about this album is its multi-facet character, it moves smoothly enough from one type of music to the other without losing a beat.
In any case, call this what you will, its one of the best pop albums of 2005, it has a fair amount of originality and sophistication, and Albarn's talent shines though easily, its certainly a bit off-the-wall, but then, that's also its charm.