Review : Gorillaz - The Fall
RollingstoneRecorded on tour, on an iPad, and comprised of songs with titles like "Shy-town" and "Seattle Yodel," this zonked addendum to Gorillaz' excellent Plastic Beach (streaming for free on their website) is the sound of Damon Albarn blowing trees and tweaking apps as the American outback rolls by his bus window. It's a wistfully spaced-out, subtly cheeky spin on the Lost In America road epic, Easy Rider via Tron — from the country-radio sampling apocalypse dub of "The Parish of Space Dust," to the rust-belting planet-rock of "Detroit," to the gorgeous "Bobby in Phoenix," a sermon on human emotions from soul great Bobby Womack, set against the sweetest blips Steve Jobs' Etch A Sketch could ever birth....full text
OlogyBritish singer and songwriter Damon Albarn has been many things over the years, though “dedicated” is perhaps the best way to describe his hard to predict but always intensely thorough immersion into whatever mode, mood, or aesthetic strikes his current fancy. Whether turning Brit rock traditionalism on its head with Blur or melding the disparate universes of pop, electronic, hip-hop, and world music styles as the real life counterpart to his Jamie Hewlett created cartoon alter ego, Albarn certainly knows how to take an idea and really run with it. Which is why it should come as no surprise that Gorillaz’ new album The Fall—recorded with iPad applications during the group’s American tour this autumn—took an untraditional approach and, appropriately, resulted in fifteen very untraditional tracks. You’ll have to dig very deep through this record to find traces of Plastic Beach’s immense, vastly produced sound—the largely instrumental song cycle certainly feels homemade, but not in a lo-fi or crude sort of way. The Fall is filled with creeping synths, ambient textures, and other pieced together sonic elements that make for one Frankenstein’s monster of a “pop” record....full text
SputnikmusicIt hasn’t even been a year since the release of the critically acclaimed Plastic Beach, a genre-busting album that blended many of the Gorillaz’ most endearing traits, yet here we are staring at another full-length LP from the band. Give them credit for not simply resting in the laurels of Plastic Beach’s commercial success…but how can such a hurried effort, recorded almost entirely using an iPad, live up to its predecessor?
Well, to be blunt…it can’t.
But The Fall still presents us with a solid, if not revolutionary, release from the darlings of technologically influenced hip-hop. Perhaps more than any other Gorillaz album, this is filled to the brim with music that is entirely, indisputably electronic. The combination of effects utilized can range anywhere from infectious to breathtaking, and consequently, the entire album makes for a rather engaging listen. You have danceable beats in tracks such as the opener, “Phoner to Arizona” and smooth running, almost tropical soundscapes in songs like “Revolving Doors” and “Shy Town.” The flow from track to track is impeccable, and in that respect, it may even be better than Plastic Beach. Like an electronically inluenced hip-hop dream, The Fall progresses effortlessly to form a surprisingly cohesive work of art.
The only real issue with The Fall is that it lacks a good deal of polishing…or to put it bluntly, it is something of a hack job. There is no sense in denying that this album could have been so, so much more than it is. There could have been a plethora of additional instrumental layers and orchestral contributions like in Plastic Beach. They could have added vocals into more of the songs so that it isn’t so heavily reliant on the instruments and computerized effects by themselves. They could have, quite simply, just taken their goddamn time and reworked some of the weaker tracks to strengthen the album as a whole. But they didn’t, and while it significantly limits The Fall’s upside, it also comes with a few somewhat unexpected perks....full text
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