British virtual band Gorillaz returned with a brand-new album titled ‘Cracker Island’ last month.
I have been following Gorillaz for years, and yes, I can assure you that they are still making hits.
Cracker Island marks the band’s 8th album released over the last 20 years, but how does it fit in with the rest of their music?
Gorillaz are known to change their sound in each and every album, which has continued over the last three albums.
Cracker Island is sonically different to Song Machine Season 1 (2020), The Now Now (2018) and their debut album, Gorillaz (2001).
Gorillaz are broad and versatile in their music and aren’t tied to a specific genre. This allows them to reach out to a wider audience, as Gorillaz have something for everybody.
The first tease of the album occurred in mid-2022 when the band dropped the Cracker Island single, featuring bassist Thundercat on the track.
Immediately, the song established what the sound of Cracker Island was going to be.
The synthsynthesisers are blasting within the first seconds, with Thundercat providing the bass line and backing vocals.
The song has funky vibes that somebody could easily get up and dance to, providing a solid opening track for the album.
‘New Gold’ featuring Australian mega-star Kevin Parker (aka Tame Impala) and long-time Gorillaz collaborator Bootie Brown delves into the themes of celebrity culture.
When I listen to New Gold, I can’t help but nod my head alongside the beat. It has that ‘Tame Impala’ vibe without overpowering the Gorillaz’s distinct sound.
‘Tormenta’, the first song recorded for the album with Puerto Rican rapper, Bad Bunny, is another good track.
It’s mostly sung in Spanish by Bad Bunny and has a sound influenced by Reggaeton instead of using the synthesisers throughout the other tracks.
While different from the rest of the album, it is still a good song to enjoy at a beach party or watching the sunset.
Silent Running was the final single released before the album dropped, featuring Adeleye Omotayo, an artist who has been touring with the band since 2017.
Silent Running stuck with me even when the rest of the album dropped because of its melancholy-sounding tone, particularly the sound of Damon Albarn’s vocals.
It’s best enjoyed on a late-night drive. Silent Running is mesmerising and perfect for when the sun goes down.
The Final verdict
The album references the occult, Hollywood and celebrity culture themes that are heard throughout the album.
It’s dreamy, heavily laden with ssynthesisers offering a feeling that is reminiscent of the synth-pop sounds of the 1980s.
This retro sound is unlike anything that the band has produced before, showing that Gorillaz are not afraid to experiment with different genres.
The album fits nicely into the band’s long-spanning discography. This allows them to continue to blend genres, proving that even after 20 years, Gorillaz are still making hits.