Gorillaz up the ante with four new hip-hop tinged belters – track-by-track review

On January 20, the same day as Donald Trump’s fateful ascension to President Of The United States – Gorillaz made their long-awaited comeback with curveball protest song ‘Hallelujah Money’, featuring Benjamin Clementine. Except, it wasn’t really what we wanted. We were pining for the slightly bonkers and cartoonish virtual band we’ve come to know and love. So the wait continued.

Until now, that is. This evening the band dropped a whopping four new tracks from their upcoming new album ‘Humanz’ – which is out on April 28. The four new tracks , ‘Ascension’, ‘We Got The Power’, ‘Saturnz Barz’ and ‘Andromeda’, feature an all-star cast of Jehnny Beth of Savages, Vince Staples, D.R.A.M. and Popcaan, come good on Damon Albarn’s ‘upbeat’ promise while offering varied glimpses of the delightfully complex collective. All in all, its a feast for Gorillaz fans. Lets get stuck in.

‘Saturnz Barz’ ft. Popcaan

The stratospheric ‘Saturnz Barz’ whisks the group into fairly uncharted territory as they incorporate trap-style beats with infectious verses from dancehall stalwart Popcaan. Of the four, it’s the furthest from previous material, but indicates that the album will be as eclectic and diverse as we hoped.

‘Ascension’ ft. Vince Staples

Opening with an elongated, hype-building klaxon – the song soon bursts into life amidst a combination of scattered, pulsating beats, all while Vince Staples’ furious flow drags it by the the scruff of the neck. Momentary respite is offered by a dreamy interlude by Albarn – before being sucked back into action. Possibly their most upbeat hip-hop tinged track thus far.

‘We Got The Power’ ft. Jehnny Beth

While ‘Hallelujah Money’ seemed like a rather sombre riposte to everything Trump stands for – ‘We Got The Power’ is seemingly the complete opposite, as an impassioned call to arms by Albarn opens the track – “We’ve got the power to be loving with each other no matter what happens”. The positivity and defiance refuses to let up, as Jehnny Beth speaks of having a “heart full of hope, I will change everything” over a typically frantic set of percussion and soaring keys. A fittingly fierce anthem to galvanise the masses in these these tumultuous times. Oh, and it features one Noel Gallagher on the chorus. No biggie.

 

‘Andromeda’ ft. D.R.A.M.

Taking influence from the Greek mythological figure and the star constellations duly named after her, ‘Andromeda’ all but confirms that Phase 4 will focus on the characters’ move away from The Plastic Beach and into the stars. Musically, it falls somewhere between Plastic Beach’s pildriving electro-banger ‘Stylo’ and chugging rhythm of The Fall’s ‘Phoner To Arizona’, but a spritely guest spot from D.R.A.M ensures it’s no re-tread.