AL­BUM OF THE WEEK

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - SCENE & HEARD -

The ever-busy Da­mon Al­barn has not wasted time in fol­low­ing up last year’s patchy and me­an­der­ing Hu­manz. This sharp, lean al­bum was made quickly while he was putting the fin­ish­ing touches on his sec­ond al­bum with the Good, the Bad and the Queen but it rarely feels rushed out. It’s not as guest-heavy as be­fore — only three col­lab­o­ra­tors are used, as op­posed to the 15 that pop­u­lated its pre­de­ces­sor — and that has helped Al­barn to keep both fo­cus and con­trol, and while there’s still a glee­fully genre-hopping qual­ity about this cartoon band, the Blur man pulls the dis­parate in­flu­ences to­gether with ease. There’s a hazy feel to ‘Hol­ly­wood’, which fea­tures a slum­ming Snoop Dogg, and the me­dia­tive ‘Hu­mil­ity’ em­ploys the iconic Amer­i­can jazz gui­tarist Ge­orge Ben­son to im­pres­sive ef­fect. It’s ar­guably the most in­tro­spec­tive and down­beat Go­ril­laz al­bum to date and de­liv­ers two songs to join their very best work. ‘Kansas’ may have a world-weary de­liv­ery but it’s ut­terly com­pelling and ‘Magic City’ floats along dream­ily.

It’s true that the qual­ity on The Now Now dips a lit­tle to­wards the end, es­pe­cially when Al­barn ap­pears to be re­cy­cling old ideas, but it’s also clear that his most pop­u­lar side project has a dis­tance left to run yet.

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