Tuesday 21 November 2017

These monkeys are the business

Humanz, the new album from Damon Albarn's virtual group Gorillaz, is not intended for Liam Gallagher

Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher
Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

A post-apocalyptic dance party by the beach in Spain. And it was one of the greatest gigs I ever witnessed: Gorillaz at Benicassim outside Valencia on a hot July night in 2010. (I saw Noel Gallagher - of whom more later - at the same festival in 2015 - he encored with AKA... What A Life! and Don't Look Back In Anger. That was a truly special show, too.)

The actual beach was within two minutes' walking distance as Damon Albarn with his Gorillaz co-workers The Clash's Paul Simonon and Mick Jones by his side opened with Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach.

The song started with a video montage featuring Snoop Dogg singing "welcome to the world of the plastic beach".

Then later with Bobby Womack and Bootie Brown, Gorillaz did Stylo before doing Superfast Jellyfish with De La Soul. Encoring their exhilarating 90-minute set with Feel Good Inc and Clint Eastwood, it was a rapturous close to Benicassim.

Liam Gallagher upon hearing We Got the Power - the anthemic duet between his older brother Noel and Damon Albarn that the new Gorillaz album Humanz ends with - was far from rapturous. Possibly the bit where the two former sworn enemies sing to each-other like grown men buzzed-up on MDMA: "We got the power to be loving each other."

"Now that dick out of Blur and the creepy one out of Oasis need to hang their heads in shame as it's no Dancing In The Street - as you were," he tweeted. "That gobshite out of Blur might have turned Noel Gallagher into a massive girl but believe you me, next time I see him there's gonna be war."

His ire was probably inspired less by the fact that Damon's other band Blur and Liam-and-Noel's former band Oasis were for years at each-other's throats in the Brit Pop Wars; and more by a recent interview Noel and Damon gave to the Vulture section of New York magazine...

Albarn said: "In a sort of light-hearted way, I'd promised Noel he could be on this record.

He was always like, 'I want to be on the next Gorillaz record', and I was like, 'Sure'. I thought it might be cute, the idea of us singing about the power to love each other. Of course, no one's asked Liam what he thinks about the song yet. No doubt he'd have a fantastic one-liner about what a bunch of f***king knobheads we are."

When the interviewer Lane Brown pointed that Liam apparently liked the most recent Blur album The Magic Whip, Albarn replied: "Yeah, but The Magic Whip didn't have his brother and I singing about loving each other."

When the interviewer later said to Noel that Damon wondered what Liam would think about the two of them singing about loving each other, Noel replied: "Listen, nobody gives a f**k what Liam thinks about anything."

The fifth Gorillaz album - the first since 2010's Plastic Beach album - Humanz is another engaging concept album courtesy of the virtual band created by Albarn and illustrator Jamie Hewlett in 1998.

As with all Gorillaz albums, the list of collaborators is long and illustrious: Vince Staples ("The sky's falling, baby!"), Danny Brown, Pusha T, Mavis Staples, D.R.A.M., Jamie Principle, Jehnny Beth from Savages, Grace Jones ("I'm gonna take you for a ride/No antennas"), and the aforesaid Mr Gallagher.

On Ascension, featuring Vince Staples, we're told of a country where "you can get a Glock and a gram for the cheap/ Where you can live your dreams long as you don't look like me/ Be a puppet on a string, hanging from a f**king tree".

This social commentary set to hip hop and multi-cultural whatever you're having yourself, Damon, is inspired by a certain man's election to the highest political post in the land.

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