Over the last two decades, Gorillaz have cemented themselves as one of the more experimental names in popular music. Despite no fixed direction or aesthetic, the Damon Albarn-led project has always looked to create this wonderfully varied and eclectic appeal, which has produced equal amounts of genius as it has more unlikeable entries. But since returning from their extended hiatus in 2017 with 'Humanz', the cartoon-fronted outfit have been more about self-discovery and pursuing even more adventurous directions. This has led us to their eighth studio album 'Cracker Island', a record that has its moments of genuine intrigue.
With an incredibly stacked list of guest contributors that includes Thundercat, Beck, Tame Impala, and even Stevie Nicks lending themselves to this new material, 'Cracker Island' continues that incredibly ambitious and collaborative spirit the project has always looked to explore. But while the record's title-track kicks things off and delivers a bouncing starting point, the rest of the release seems to focus on a more sombre aesthetic. Meandering between dreamlike atmospheres and psychedelic endeavours, Gorillaz unleash some wonderfully enjoyable cuts interspliced with more forgettable interludes.
Much like everything they have produced since their comeback, 'Cracker Island' is a fun and enjoyable romp that has trouble finding a cohesive rhythm to keep itself moving forward. There are bright and uplifting ideas scattered throughout here, but a few too many damp squibs to make it a fully succinct offering.