Gorillaz have debuted four new singles, titled ‘Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)’, ‘Ascension’, ‘Andromeda’ & ‘We Got The Power’, taken from their forthcoming studio album, Humans (out April 28th via Parlophone Records). The four new tracks feature guest appearances from Vince Staples, Popcaan, D.R.A.M. and Savages’ Jehnny Beth, and signal a step toward a more mainstream sound. Read my track-by-track review below.
Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)
Unlike ‘Hallelujah Money’, the avant-garde, socio-political slowburner featuring Mercury Prize Winner Benjamin Clementine, ‘Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)’ is a hallucinogenic reggaeton groove, replete with swinging trip-hop skitters and auto-tuned patois from Jamaican dancehall prodigy Popcaan — Gorillaz most experimental song since ‘Dirty Harry’.
If ‘Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)’ depicted a juiced up joyride of spacy atmospherics, singing pizzas and a stark-naked Murdoc Niccals, ‘Ascension’ is its jaded counterpart. Vince Staples supersonic acid-raps bounce like a spring-loaded trampoline; somersaulting between spasmodic synth tones and screaming police klaxons. He quips “The sky’s falling baby, drop that ass before it crash, the land of the free, where you can get a glock and gram for the cheap” – delivering a rap masterclass which is both politically aware and socially mindful.
We Got The Power
‘We Got The Power’, featuring Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth and former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher, is a scattergun-pop tour de force turn call to arms which promotes togetherness and political change. Punctuated by gospel-punk chorales, Beth’s megaphone-muffled motifs of “We got the power to be loving each other no matter what happens” are personal, yet empowering – strutting, striding and skipping in the face of adversity.
‘Andromeda’ is an endorphin-fueled disco number which channels the electronic stylings of Plastic Beach’s ‘Stylo’ with the 70s dance of Earth, Wind and Fire: a certified boogie bonanza. D.R.A.M’s barrel-chested baritone and syrupy shrills add a soulful finesse to Albarn’s vocals, as he harmonises “When the passing looks to die for, Take it in your heart now lover” – donning a cartoonish sheen to match Hewlett’s artwork.
Written and published by James Macdonald.