Review: Gorillaz, ‘Plastic Beach’

Review: Gorillaz, ‘Plastic Beach’: Aidin Vaziri | The third album by Brit-pop overachiever Damon Albarn’s cartoon band features a stellar guest list that includes Lou Reed, Snoop Dogg, Mark E Smith, Bobby Womack and half the Clash. They all bring their distinctive personalities to the party, but make no mistake; “Plastic Beach” is driven purely by Albarn’s fireball ideas. Since launching the Gorillaz side project 12 years ago, the Blur front man has gotten really good at mixing up cheeky melodies with ambling reggae rhythms, woozy soul and sinister dub grooves. The left-field touches that propelled the group’s previous hits like “Dare” and “Clint Eastwood” are evident once again on “Stylo,” a freewheeling funk jam that pairs Womack with rapper Mos Def, and the exuberant “Superfast Jellyfish,” which features vocals from De La Soul. Reed, meanwhile, is responsible for the album’s oddest turn, laying his world-weary groan on the tropical vibes of “Some Kind of Nature.” With Albarn’s dash of magic dust, it’s almost guaranteed to top the charts before the end of the year.

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