Demon Days improves massively from the Gorillaz debut with an album chock full of memorable, innovative pop, garnished with effervescent production. If anything, the cartoon imagery (or you could call it marketing) sticks less easily to this album, with moments of folksy downbeat like ‘Every Planet we Reach is Dead’ sounding like an outtake from Blur’s excellent Think Tank LP. Opener ‘Last Living Souls’ cuts up Albarn’s deadpan vocals against crisp beats and retro synths while ‘Kids with Guns’ follows in a similar vein before ascending into a post-rocking sonic climax. ‘O Green World’ is drowsy, 21st century funk, and the brilliant, booty-shaking ‘Feel Good Inc.’ has to be one of the singles of the year, even if it was used for a certain television commercial.
‘November Has Come’ pitches Albarn’s world-weary chorus against precise and cutting rhymes by MF Doom to excellent effect, and after this things start to tail off a bit, with Shaun Ryder proving a garish presence in ‘Dare’, and Dennis Hopper’s spoken-word contribution ‘Fire Coming Out of a Monkey’s Head’ is high-concept nonsense. Otherwise though, the album is something of a grower, revealing its charms with repeated listens.