Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett have confirmed that they will be back in action together later this year with the fifth Gorillaz album, Humanz. They’ll be kicking it all off with a launch event at a secret London location, which has already closed its doors with the pre-order registrations, so it’s looking like the virtual band will be getting a pretty good reception for the latest phase in its ongoing evolution.
It’s been a mammoth six years since the release of the last Gorillaz album, The Fall, the longest break in the band’s history. However, with his solo album, Everyday Robots in 2014, the return of Blur with The Magic Whip in 2015, and the production of wonder.land in 2016, Albarn has had a pretty packed schedule in recent years.
The characters look as though they’ve had a fairly significant stylistic makeover in the pics above with the artwork becoming much more detailed and less cartoon-like for 2D, Murdoc, Noodle and Russel Hobbs. They also look a little older and more world weary, so maybe the time off hasn’t been all that kind to them. However, you can check them out in their original form in the 360 video below for new track, Saturnz Barz (feat. Popcaan).
Humanz has been confirmed for a UK release date of the 28th April 2017, so the band has clearly left it to the last minute to confirm the details for the album to the world. It’s available to pre-order on CD, vinyl and digital download, with the addition of a Special Edition 2-disc CD and Deluxe digital download featuring six bonus tracks, which you can see in the full track list below. There’s also a Deluxe vinyl + artbook bundle with 2 LPs pressed on double, heavyweight 12” black vinyl in a cloth-bound 54-page hardback book of Gorillaz artwork by Jamie Hewlett.
Gorillaz has landed with a heavy knuckled thud with four songs from the 20-track album ready to go. It includes the electro-fired hip hop and rap crossover, Ascension (feat. Vince Staples); reggae fusion of Saturnz Barz (feat. Popcaan); electro R&B pop of Andromeda (feat. D.R.A.M.); and the alt-pop clapper, We Got The Power (feat. Jehnny Beth).
Saturnz Barz (feat. Popcaan) 360 music video:
- Intro: I Switched My Robot Off
- Ascension (feat. Vince Staples)
- Strobelite (feat. Peven Everett)
- Saturnz Barz (feat. Popcaan)
- Momentz (feat. De La Soul)
- Interlude: The Non-conformist Oath
- Submission (feat. Danny Brown & Kelela)
- Charger (feat. Grace Jones)
- Interlude: Elevator Going Up
- Andromeda (feat. D.R.A.M.)
- Busted and Blue
- Interlude: Talk Radio
- Carnival (feat. Anthony Hamilton)
- Let Me Out (feat. Mavis Staples & Pusha T)
- Interlude: Penthouse
- Sex Murder Party (feat. Jamie Principle & Zebra Katz)
- She’s My Collar (feat. Kali Uchis)
- Interlude: The Elephant
- Halleujah Money (feat. Benjamin Clementine)
- We Got The Power (feat. Jehnny Beth)
Humanz Special Edition CD & Deluxe digital download bonus Tracks:
- Interlude: New World
- The Apprentice (feat. Rag‘n’Bone Man, Zebra Katz & RAY BLK)
- Halfway To The Halfway House (feat. Peven Everett)
- Out Of Body (feat. Kilo Kish, Zebra Katz & Imani Vonshà)
- Ticker Tape (feat. Carly Simon & Kali Uchis)
- Circle Of Friendz (feat. Brandon Markell Holmes)
Humanz is clearly a big release for the guys behind Gorillaz with a whole lot of songs and effort wrapped up on the track list and bonus material, but when we listened to the four singles out already it felt a bit like some of the fun has been lost along along the way. It’s a hefty beast with significant fusion and collaboration behind it and while that’s admirable, it doesn’t really seem all that much like the Gorillaz that we thought we knew. However, there’s a lot of the original charm to the cool 360 video for Saturnz Barz (feat. Popcaan) above to make us think that maybe, just maybe there might well be enough to wire it up.