- 24 Feb 23
Superstar-laden album from Damon Albarn’s virtual project.
Damon Albarn’s virtual Filofax must be overflowing. For this, the eighth studio album from his all-star Gorillaz, he’s roped in a seriously impressive line-up of collaborators, including some of the biggest musical names on the planet.
The title-track features Albarn on lead vocals for an electro-funk call-and-response affair that practically leaks digital sunshine, with Thundercat providing the funkiest of basslines. There’s genuine rock ‘n’ roll royalty in the form of Stevie Nicks, who duets with the Blur frontman on the melancholy ‘Oil’, while laidback indie superhero Beck adds to the melancholic Mariachi of ‘Possession Island’.
Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny – the reggaetron superstar who has become Spotify’s most streamed artist for the past three years – lends his talents to the easy-going ‘Tormenta’, and ‘New Gold’ features the psychedelic pop of Tame Impala, alongside The Pharcyde’s Bootie Brown on vocals.
Cracker Island is, then, a beautiful album with an ache at its heart, perfectly evidenced by ‘Tarantula’, a terrific slice of bittersweet electro-pop, Albarn waxing mournfully about how “the sadness has come again”. Elsewhere, ‘Baby Queen’ is about Albarn meeting the crown princess of Thailand while touring with Blur in 1997 – she apparently stage-dived into the crowd from her throne, which had been set up beside the mixing desk, during ‘Song 2’.
Gorillaz now feels less like a side-project and more a bona fide outlet for Albarn’s main musical musings. On the evidence of Cracker Island, long may it continue.
Out now via Parlophone.
The new issue of Hot Press is out now, starring Inhaler and The Academic.