Gorillaz: 'The Fall'
Released on Monday, Apr 18 2011
Published Thursday, Apr 7 2011, 16:43 BST
| By Mayer Nissim |
Damon Albarn's Gorillaz
came of age last year with their almost-perfect third album Plastic Beach
. A mouthwatering array of guests (Snoop, Lou Reed, half of The Clash, Bobby Womack, Mark E. Smith) combined with the ex/current-Blur man's most lovely tunes in a while. How to follow that up? How about a (sort of) free album
recorded in 32 days on an iPad while touring the US? Why the hell not. So, is this a throwaway gimmick, or is there enough going on to warrant this full release?There's been one video spun off from the collection so far - the catchy instrumental 'Phoner To Arizona'. Many of the album's 15 tracks namecheck where the band visited on the US leg of their 'Escape To Plastic Beach' world tour. Sharp, catchy and coolly melodic, it's a perfect example to those spending millions in the studio of how you can do oh so much with so very little.But would anything here have made the Plastic Beach cut? Absolutely. 'Revolving Doors' channels late Blur through the Apple tablet, 'Hillbilly Man' is half melancholy lament, half space funk. 'The Parish Of Space Dust' rushes over you with waves of sound and samples while 'Amarillo' smooths you out again. And towards the end, the iconic Womack rejoins the band for the extraterrestrial country soul of 'Bobby In Phoenix'.That 'recorded on an iPad thing'. To be honest, had we not known we really wouldn't have guessed. Sure, nothing here sounds overproduced, but neither does it sound in the least bit cheap or nasty, and the voices and live instruments fit in fine. It sounds coherent, but far from one-note. Make no mistake, this is a proper album. Along with the 'net democratising the distribution of tunes, the technology keeps on making their production just as easy - if you're as annoyingly talented as Damon Albarn that is!We doubt that Gorillaz will hive off any singles from The Fall, though they have a pick of highlights should they want. Despite our concerns when hearing about the project, it's a very good thing that they've rescued these recordings from the harddrives of the hardcore and given us all the opportunity to download or pick up a disc.The Fall
isn't the masterpiece its predecessor was, and it's not front-loaded with some super-catchy MTV-fodder like their self-titled debut or Demon Days
either. But it is
a super-chilled, super-enjoyable listen, and despite a bit of filler here and there, it really hangs together wonderfully. As a bonus, it's also pretty refreshing that someone (other than Jack White) has stopped whinging about the tedious album-promo-tour-album-promo-tour circle and decided to do take a step out and have a bit of fun instead.What do you think of The Fall? Leave your comments in the box below.