Plastic Beach (Parlophone)
Prior to Plastic Beach’s release, Damon Albarn called it the poppiest record he’s ever made. Maybe he’s operating under a different definition of pop, because Gorillaz’ first album in five years is neither light nor easily digestible. It has hooks, but none as immediate as past Gorillaz hits Feel Good Inc. or 19-2000.
This is a hefty offering clocking in at nearly an hour and featuring everyone from Lou Reed to Snoop Dogg. One might think the project would crumble under its own weight, but after a few listens it melds into a consistent parcel of didactic, retro/futuristic synth-pop.
Even the ostentatious guest spots are successful. Ethereal keys soften Mos Def’s monotone delivery on Stylo, while the title track reunites Mick Jones and Paul Simonon but sounds more like G-funk than Clash City Rock. It shouldn’t work, but it really does.
Top track: Stylo