On Gorillaz’ third album, British singer/multi-instrumentalist Damon Albarn once again recruits an impressive group of collaborators for his bold pop music collages. Soul veteran Bobby Womack steals the show on the chorus of “Stylo”, unleashing fiery vocals over an icy synth line – a cool, unexpected combination. On “Empire Ants”, Swedish electronic band Little Dragon brings a shimmering, sexy pulse to the song.
But the album lacks one crucial component: momentum. Because there isn’t a lot of variety tempo-wise, you never get the feeling of being propelled forward. Fans searching for mega singles in the vein of “Feel Good Inc.” and “Clint Eastwood” will probably find this disc a little esoteric. /GM
BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB
BEAT THE DEVIL’S TATTOO
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has struggled in recent years to regain the spark and energy of their early material. With a retooled lineup (Leah Shapiro, the former touring drummer for The Raveonettes, has replaced longtime B.R.M.C. drummer Nick Jago) and renewed purpose, the L.A.-based trio appears to be back on solid ground.
The soaring guitars and tremolo effects on “Bad Blood” and “Evol” recall the neo-psychadelic touches of their debut album, which was influenced by U.K. bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain. “River Styx”, with its skuzzy, slithering riff, seems tailor-made for some sort of Gothic strip club.
Though nothing on this disc feels like any big revelation, it’s still a relief to hear the band rocking out and sounding more revved up than they have in years. /GM
(Both reviews appear in the current issue of prairie dog magazine.)