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Five years on from the release of Demon Days, Murdoc Niccals and co. return with Plastic Beach. The band have taken up residence, recording on a secret floating island deep in the South Pacific, a Plastic Beach HQ, made up of detritus, debris and washed up remnants of humanity. This Plastic Beach is the furthest point from any landmass on Earth; the most deserted spot on the planet.
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Roll over, Josie and the Pussycats, and tell the Archies the news: There is a new cartoon band in town, the poppy, trippy, hip-hoppy Gorillaz. But cosmonaut vixens or pie-faced high school kids the Gorillaz are not; instead, they're an urban-chic troupe of misfits known as Murdoc, Noodle, Russel and 2D. For more on their story, go to gorillaz.com. As for the music, well, the people who actually created Gorillaz sorry to spoil the fantasy include avant-garde hip-hop producer extraordinaire Dan the Automator Dr. Octagon, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Deltron 3030, Blur vocalist Damon Albarn, Cibo Matto singer Miho Hatori, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, and former Talking Heads/current Tom Tom Club members Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. The album is a tasty brew of the many musical stylings purveyed by its creators. The single, "Clint Eastwood," combines the Automator's toe-tappin' beats with Albarn's chipper, oh-so-British vocals "I'm feeling glad/I've got sunshine in a bag", and Del's tough-guy raps "Chicks and dudes/Who you think is really kicking tunes?". Other standouts include the aptly titled, minute-and-a-half Albarn screamfest "Punk"; Del's Grandmaster Flash-style rap "Rock the House" featuring the call-to-action "I want y'all to just get down"; the groovy indie rock of "Re-Hash," featuring Hatori's sweet backing vocals; and the ominous Pink Floyd-esque art-rock of "M1 A1," which features a sample from the horror flick Day of the Dead. Yep, this album is all over the place, but the Automator's production skills and seamless segues hold it all together. Action figures sold separately. - Barnes & Noble, Bill Crandall
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