CD Review: Humanz by the Gorrilaz
Parlophone Records / Warner Bros.
Distance may have been the best thing to happen to the much-hyped early summer release of Damon Albarn’s fifth studio Gorillaz release, Humanz. Initially met with mixed reviews from critics and fans alike due to the hectic, unfocused nature of the LP, a retroactive look at the 20 track (including the six skits) juggernaut can appreciate this consistent movement as one of the strongest traits across the album. Albarn’s sparse use of the trademark 2D vocals throughout can leave the album feeling less like a traditional Gorillaz album and more like an experimental collaborative compilation, which is possibly the best way to view Humanz. Independently, the high points of the album soar. The Vince Staples featured track “Ascension” strikes with dizzying, hectic agility, and the soulful hook of “Let me Out” executed by Mavis Staples blends beautifully with her track counterpart Pusha T, creating one of the most unique and captivating hip-hop tracks of the year so far. However, the albums inconsistency remains an issue regardless of how you approach it. “Sex Murder Party”, for example, feels half-finished in its broken and bent instrumental and weakly whispered hook, while “Hallelujah Money” fails to find a consistent hook at all, instead dissolving without groove into a muddled mess. Though not a quintessential Gorillaz album by any reach, Humanz shouldn’t be skipped over as a whole, as independent moments and collaborative odd couples curated by Albarn make the record worth searching through.