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By Marc Savlov, Fri., Dec. 1, 2006

Gorillaz: Rise of the Ogre

by Cass Browne and Gorillaz

Riverhead, 298 pp., $35

Bigger than Jesus (when laid end-to-end), more popular than the Beatles (among members of the key 12- to 15-year-old Malaysian male demographic), and infinitely cooler than Tank Blur, Grammy-winning virtual superstars Gorillaz bare all beneath the microscope's monkey trials and two-dimensional popstars in this overstuffed, supersaturated, behind-the-bullshit tell-all. Feast your eyes and gloat your soul on their accursed awesomeness: Stoke-on-Trent, U.K.-born satanist-cum-base-ist Murdoc Niccals' unlikely role as band Reichsführer; the creation of Kong Studios and the subsequent arrival of hordes of insatiable zombie flesh eaters; and the band's shocking, bizarre ties to once-upon-a-time teenypopper Damon Albarn and gin-soaked doodle monkey Jamie Hewlett. Like Gorillaz music, Rise of the Ogre benefits from repeat visits. It's riddled with obscurantist arcana (Niccals' grimoire is the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum!) and drolly psychotic commentary from guitar-slinging Tokyo tweener Noodle; skeletal, sclerotic frontman 2D; and Yank skinsman Russel, as well as oodles of bent dope from the likes of Shaun Ryder, Ike Turner, Dennis Hopper, and random knobhead Brian Burton. So Gorillaz newest media cri de guerre appears to be "Today your coffee table, tomorrow the ottoman." Let 'em have it: Conquering footstools is a fool's errand, but a Noodle on your cocktail table is a religious experience. Screw the Bible, baby; this is evolution.

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