(Virgin Records) Proceed with Caution.
According to the Gorillaz, each album was a representation of a specific member’s musical style. The self titled debut showcased Russell’s hip-hop/funk roots. ‘Demon Days’ was a reflection of Noodle’s dark, doomy side, and ‘Plastic Beach’ was an exploration into the depths of Murdoc’s thoughts. And, now, with The Fall it’s time for 2-D (aka Damon Albarn) to showcase his personal and distinctive vision.
Conceived as the first “virtual hip-hop group” the Gorillaz are renowned for breaking new grounds musically, so it’s no surprise that this album was created during the band’s 19 date North American tour and recorded on an iPad in various hotels and venues with the aid of 20 apps. Essentially, it’s a sonic diary with each track being written in a day in a different state – hence titles such as “Phoner to Arizona,” “Detroit,” “The Snake in Dallas,” and “California and the Slipping of the Sun”. Unlike past releases there is only one guest vocalist, Bobby Womack, who is featured on “Bobby in Phoenix”.
The album itself is very organic in nature, incorporating lots of computerized effects and mid-tempo beats. Vocals are sparse as most tracks are instrumentals. “HillBilly Man” starts off simple before kicking into a disjointed electronic beat. “Little Pink Plastic Bags” is an amusing little ditty that is a bit obscure but catchy none-the-less, and the ukulele in “Revolving Doors” adds a nice touch. A majority of the tunes are short little clips, (i.e. “Seattle Yodel,” which consists of about 30 seconds of yodeling.) and there are no big radio hits to be found. The Fall is definitely an artistic album that had no intentions of being a commercial success. Smoke some pot or do a little acid before listening and you’ll enjoy it a whole lot more.