The Now Now
In February 2018, Gorillaz won the BRIT Award for Best British Group, bestowed on the back of 2017’s Humanz. As Damon Albarn made a drunken, Brexit-bashing acceptance speech, he’d already consigned that album to history. By then, the restlessly inventive songwriter had almost finished this follow-up, intent on having new material for festival season. Binding hip-hop, synth-pop, folk, techno, and funk together with lovely melodies, these songs are immediate enough to reach far corners of main-stage fields. But, conceived by Albarn in lonely hotel rooms while Gorillaz toured the U.S., they contemplate the state of the world with absorbing melancholy. The result is adventurous yet intimate—proof that beyond the cartoons and collaborators (George Benson, Snoop Dogg, and Jamie Principle here), one man’s mournful heart and insatiable creative spirit drives Gorillaz.