‘Cracker Island’ is the eighth studio album from seminal British band Gorillaz, who are known for their unique blend of electronic, alt-rock, and hiphop, as well as the illustrated characters designs from the bands co-founder Jamie Hewlett. It doesn’t necessarily provide anything overly new in comparison to their earlier stuff, but it does double down on what people love about Damon Albarn and his cohorts, so we would be surprised if anyones really complaining. Clean cut, snappy drum
transients, polished guitar riffs with a metallic edge, and dense, growling bass tones fill the majority of the soundscapes, alongside an impressive spread of vocals from Albarn and a bunch of quality features. Credited contributions come from heavyweights like Thundercat, Tame Impala, Beck, Bad Bunny, and Stevie Nicks, the latter of which is responsible for one of the best vocals on the album as her ‘Oil’ topline is layered with Damon’s lead vocal over shimmering guitar work and driving snares. ‘The Tired Influencer’ uniquely leans toward subtle dubstep rhythms for its drum work, aided by fattened kick drums and overly punchy snares which contrast heavily against its dreamy synths and timid vocals. Another stand out inclusion, in terms of style, is the Bad Bunny featured ‘Tormenta’, which combines a cloudy RnB aesthetic with the Latin-natured sound of the Puerto Rico-born singer. Elsewhere on the record it’s pretty much all out Gorillaz at their best, intense drum rhythms, amazing guitar melodies, and well measured synth programming. A deluxe version of the album is also out, which features an additional five tracks.
Where to start:
Oil: Metallic guitar plucks and an amazing topline from Stevie Nicks
Cracker Island: Punchy snares, elastic basslines, and a Thundercat feature
Baby Queen: Softened vocals and glistening synth melodies
Previous from Gorillaz:
Demon Days LP (2005, Parlophone)
Humanz LP (2017, Parlophone)
If you like this then check out:
Thundercat – It Is What It Is LP (2020, Brainfeeder)
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush LP (2020, Modular)
Gorillaz – Cracker Island is out now on Parlophone.