THE NOW NOW // GORILLAZ
// WORDS BY DAVE WOOD
In 2017 Gorillaz announced they were returning with a new album after a seven year hiatus since ‘Plastic Beach’. When ‘Humanz’ finally came out what we were presented with was an album filled with interesting tracks and collaborations from people all over the musical spectrum however as a unit of work it was barely cohesive and left many fans unsure as to whether this was the direction Damon Albarn was to take the animated band down.
Barely a year later with very little fanfare, ‘The Now Now’ was released, a far more organised and simple album sonically with only a handful of collaborators and a consistent theme throughout. This album generates a weird melancholic feeling while also remaining upbeat and friendly, even on the opening track ‘Humility’ which features jazz legend George Benson and is loaded with cheerful riffs retains an aura of ennui by having Albarns ethereal vocals lamenting his condition. This leaves the listener unsure of how to feel and this feeling of the unknown pervades through the whole record. Plodding basslines on tracks like ‘Kansas’ and ‘Idaho’ drag the listener through the LP contrasting with acoustic guitar on songs like ‘Souk Eye’ a personal favourite of mine but yet they feel like they belong together in the world that auteur Albarn creates.
In this lockdown world we’re living in, I keep returning to this album, especially while the weather is good. As we should be happy, it’s sunny and we’re alive but life is not simple and easy at the minute. This album perfectly captures that inner conflict of wanting to be happy but something is preventing it and taking you down a peg or two.
Personally I believe this album to be the animated band’s most underrated piece of work and while it’s not perfect there is a lot of good that can be gleaned from it.