Gorillaz - The Fall (Parlophone / EMI)

19 Apr 2011

 “Whether patchy and low-key or grandiose and exploratory, every new album seems yet more of a statement of Albarn’s ability to successfully explore a tangent, using the moments when the spotlight’s off him to gently touch the surface of melancholy, grandeur and anything in-between...”; release – 2011

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As you may have read, The Fall was recorded by Gorillaz head monkey Damon Albarn whilst on tour, using an iPad.  And despite the device being the ultimate marvel in ‘what’s this for, exactly?’ technology, it just isn’t as capable as a properly equipped modern studio.  But therein lies the point – The Fall is deliberately off the cuff, a scribble of thoughts on a hotel napkin developed in to contemplative spirals of sonic glitter whilst on the road in North America.  Gotta pass the time somehow, right?

The thing about The Fall is that even though the songs are very delicately crafted, there doesn’t seem to be much of a marriage between their subject and the ‘object’ they themselves are.  This is particularly noticeable in the absence of Gorillaz’ trademark heavy beats.  The overall atmosphere created is pretty much consistently hazy, which admittedly is a real quality possessed by dusty places like Phoenix, Arizona.

For the first time on a Gorillaz LP, it’s Albarn’s own voice that takes over pretty much the entire record.  Aside from Bobby Womack on ‘Bobby in Phoenix’, everything else runs the risk of being called the work of a solo artist ‘mucking about’, especially when placed in the context of the cartoon band’s previous work (not to mention the ‘on tour’ nature of how it was written/recorded).  That’d be a shame, however  - tracks like ‘Phoner to Arizona’, ‘Revolving Doors’ or ‘Amarillo’, if they ever get a live run out, would be cracking tunes to watch the animated band have a thrash at. 

Suffice to say however it’s definitely a less well-rounded album than Demon Days or Plastic BeachThe Fall is comparatively somewhat grey, somewhat tired, somewhat sparkly through the reflection of the slipping sun.  But it’s also somewhat fascinating, and in places, not a little gorgeous.  Whether patchy and low-key or grandiose and exploratory, every new album seems yet more of a statement of Albarn’s ability to successfully explore a tangent, using the moments when the spotlight’s off him to gently touch the surface of melancholy, grandeur and anything in-between.

Gorillaz - The fall by revolutioncontemporaine

Text by Liane Escorza

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