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Gorillaz - Plastic Beach (Parlophone) ****
MONTHS after reviving Blur in the collective conscience, Damon Albarn is back with Jamie Hewlett’s cartoons and a band that doesn’t exist.
The Gorillaz website carries details of the back story to enhance your listening pleasure, but in truth there’s plenty here to occupy ears, hearts, feet and minds.
Almost too much, for the vast supporting cast (Bobby Womack, De La Soul, Snoop, Mark E Smith, Mos Def, Gruff Rhys, Lou Reed, Kano, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon) softens the album’s focus in places allowing Albarn’s vocals on Rhinestone Eyes and On Melancholy Hill to steal the show.
Still, Smith’s rabid barks on Glitter Freeze chill the soul, Snoop’s growl on Welcome... and the charming whimsy of Gruff’s singing on Superfast Jellyfish provide stiff competition. Sheer class.