Damon Albarn’s become a magician of sorts, always with some musical scheme up his sleeve. On one dimension exists Blur, the real life band that’s been around since the early nineties, on another lies Albarn’s solo career, but on yet another realm are Gorillaz, Albarn’s guilty pleasure band. With a little help from members 2D, Murdoc, Noodle , Russell, Albarn has earned incredible success with his gimmick, though the Gorillaz haven’t been re-drawn much in the last four years. Albarn’s been busy; the man released two solo efforts in 2002-03 alongside releasing Think Tank for Blur in the latter year. Now, in 2005 arrives Demon Days, the Danger Mouse produced sophomore album that is far better than its predecessor, with many guest appearances that guide Gorillaz’s journey off of paper and into the real world.
An intro sampling Dawn of the Dead appropriately leads into “Last Living Souls,” using what sounds like clanging bones for a bass line. Trip Hop’s Neneh Cherry lends a whispering “push it” to “Kids With Guns,” using the old Salt N Pepa lyric to gesture the song’s theme–kids gone crazy. First single “Feel Good Inc.,” featuring De La Soul, is the album’s most upbeat, with lyrics, Love forever love is free/Let’s turn forever you and me. Gorillaz seem to wing it without Albarn’s obvious vocal stylings on the punk driven “White Light” and disco delicious “Dare,”which features Madchester local Shaun Ryder on vocals. Dennis Hopper plays mad storyteller in “Fire Coming out of the Monkey’s head,” and oddly enough, a youth chorus and Pharcyde’s Bootie Brown mesh on “Dirty Harry,”adding a sequel piece to the mysterious Clint Eastwood obsession. The break was well spent; Demon Days is the ultimate comeback.