Gorillaz The Now Now Parlophone Records
Nobody expected Gorillaz to follow up last year’s Humanz quite as quick as this. Depending on your perspective, it might be no bad thing. Humanz was a divisive record, a chaotic mish-mash of styles that sounded very much as if it was designed to soundtrack the current political climate. But perhaps that also felt like a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, with its all-star cast of collaborators coming at the cost of any real sense of cohesion. The Now Now is a different beast entirely. For a start, there are just two tracks with guest appearances: George Benson pops up on opener Humility, while Snoop Dogg and Jamie Principle help out on Hollywood.
If you found the rolling, noisy drama of Humanz to be heavy going, you’ll likely love The Now Now. Mainly rooted in funk, tonally it’s a world away from Gorillaz’s last album. The blissed-out likes of Tranz and Kansas sound like the summer, perhaps unsurprisingly given that Damon Albarn has indicated that the album was written to provide fresh material for upcoming festival headline slots. Albarn himself is on playful, melodic form, often smothering his vocals with reverb (see: Magic City, especially). There’s always the sense that a stripped-back Gorillaz is one that’s not quite firing on all cylinders. After all, their collaborations have always been a crucial part of their make-up. But The Now Now is irresistibly chilled and the perfect palate cleanser a year on from Humanz‘s end-of-days disarray.