Reviewed by Marc Savlov, Fri., June 3, 2005
Demon Days (Virgin)
It begins with an "Intro" ripped from Dawn of the Dead, then come sirens, screams, and Neneh Cherry. Surely, the end is at hand? Not unless your surname is Nakamura. Gorillaz's sophomore slink chucks the soundscaping Automator in favor of Dangermouse, and the results are reason enough for Damon Albarn's other outfit to finally pack it in. Alternately buoyant ("Feel Good Inc." is the best single De La Soul never wrote), grim ("Kids With Guns," snaky minimalism morphing into outright grief), and surreal ("DARE" to spaz again with Happy Monday Shaun Ryder as Dennis Hopper narrates the "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head"), Demon Days plays smart, snarky counterpoint to your everyday end-times scenario. That a cheeky-serious concept album this fluid and this vibrant (concept = zombie outbreak/end of world) should be attributed to a cartoon quartet arriving via Jamie Hewlett's post-Tank Girl sketch pad, and former Oasis fan Albarn's way around a melody is a meta-mindfuck of pseudo-epic proportions. What will music historians remember about Gorillaz? That they were a kind band? That they were a wise band? That they had plans? Fat chance. They're just gonna grin and blare it.