Sometimes waiting for an album is like waiting for a bus… you spend an absolute age waiting for one, then two turn up at once! Okay, so that was a crap analogy, but you get the idea. Gorillaz released the fantastic Humanz last year, their first album in almost 7 years. Now, just over a year later, we’ve already been graced with their sixth studio album, The Now Now.

You’d think that, in such a short space of time that the record would feel rushed, but it really doesn’t. The band have described this as 2D’s “solo album”, and condsiering the mood it evokes, it’s clear to see why. With bassist Murdoc Niccals currently indisposed, and serving time in jail (which I’m still not cool about), he is free from his torment. Needless to say, overall theme is of freedom, and it has a much happier feel to it than any of the previous Gorillaz material.

“Humility” opens up the record with a chilled out vibe, and a funky feel. It’s slow paced, but is one of those tracks that puts a smile on one’s face. It certainly is a feel good song, and is a great way to set up the mood! “Tranz” utilises minimalistic synths to create a song that echoes that of retro tracks of the 80s. There’s not tons going on here, but the chorus has some interesting textures to it. “Hollywood” is dominated by a deep pounding bass line, and is a shameless club dance-floor filler. Guest vocalists Snoop Dog and Jamie Principle add extra energy to this track, which is a nice contrast to Albarn’s more melancholic vocal delivery. “Kansas” continues with the funky bass and adds a reflective tone, whilst “Sorcererz” continues the relaxed summer-y mood. Acoustic number “Idaho” has a strange feeling to it, almost as if it’s some sort of drunken trip. It’s twisted, in a beautifully odd way, and feels like something The Beatles could have cooked up. “Lake Zurich” (what is it with the names of so many locales on this album?) is an instrumental that has a funky disco feel. I admit, I expected vocals, and whilst the lack of them doesn’t hurt the track, they’d have been a nice addition. “Magic City” feels like yet another odd trip, and “Fire Flies” is a very contemplative track. The latter feels a bit moody compared to the rest of the album, but still manages to continue the theme. “One Percent” is an intriguing short interlude, feeling very space-like, and almost Demon Days in approach. This leads to the closer of the record, “Souk Eye”, with an almost exotic beat, complimented by acoustic guitar, all building up to a big jazzy finish.

I’ll admit, listening to each track as a stand-alone song is underwhelming. As seperate tracks, they fall a bit flat on their own merits. There’s no hard hitters here, as with Gorillaz’s previous efforts, with maybe the exception of “Hollywood”. However, as a full record, it’s a great listening experience. It’s a psychedelic trip, and feels reminiscent of 70’s or 80’s music. It may not be as varied or as experimental as Humanz, but feels more consistent in it’s approach, and whilst it may be shorter in length, it can’t be argued that it has more of a clear focus. Whilst it’s still not a Demon Days beater, it’s on-par with Humanz, and is the perfect compliment to the latter, feeling very upbeat and uplifting. The Now Now is an excellent feel good album, and the perfect soundtrack for the summer.

Final verdict: There’s not big hitters on this record, but The Now Now is an excellent listening experience as a whole. It has a very uplifting, upbeat feel, making the perfect soundtrack to the summer.

Tracklist:

  1. Humility

  2. Tranz

  3. Hollywood (feat. Snoop Dog and Jamie Principle)

  4. Kansas

  5. Sorcererz

  6. Idaho

  7. Lake Zurich

  8. Magic City

  9. Fire Flies

  10. One Percent

  11. Souk Eye