I have something of a bad habit of buying vinyl copies of some of my favourite albums that I had previously only owned on CD. I say bad habit, but that’s only because I sometimes blind side myself as the pressings of quite a few of the albums have left a lot to be desired with the sound quality of the CD proving to be superior.
I’m delighted to report that the self-titled effort by Gorillaz, reissued as a double album in a gatefold sleeve back in 2015, has a very full and rich sound, offering a great deal of enjoyment and pleasure.
The original CD, which dates back to 2001, lists 15 tracks, but the final song extends to almost eleven minutes in length thanks to a substantial gap before a ‘hidden’ track starts to play. The vinyl effort sort of pulls off a similar trick in that there is what is described as a ‘locked groove’ between the final two tracks on Side 4, meaning that the stylus has to be lifted and placed back down again to enable the last song to be played.
It’s a bit of a gimmick, but I suppose it does ensure that the thought-process behind the CD in that the listener has to make something of an effort to hear track 16, is maintained.
Where it does annoy me, but only to the tiniest extent, is that Side 4 of the album in its entirety is up there as providing one of the strongest ends to any album in my possession where none of the final few tracks is a well-known single, and it would be better if it flowed smoothly and with interruption.
mp3: Gorillaz – Starshine
mp3: Gorillaz – Slow Country
mp3: Gorillaz – M1 A1
mp3: Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood (Ed Case/Sweetie Irie Refix)
Starshine is a languid number, possibly the most post-Coxon Blur-type song on the album and then its closing notes seam perfectly into Slow Country whose opening few seconds always catch me out as I think Ghost Town is about to come out of the speakers, before the most sunniest dub sounds imaginable have me closing my eyes and dreaming of those old holidays I used to take in Barbados in the pre-COVID era.
There’s a slight pause before what I’ve learned is film dialogue and samples from the zombie movie Dawn Of The Dead provides an unsettling first half to M1 A1, before the kitchen sink is thrown at then tune, and it descends into the sort of noise that would get any mosh pit working up a fair bit of sweat. The one thing I would have liked is for the thrashy second half to have maybe extended for another couple of minutes, but then again to have done so would have been out of sync with the length of all the other tracks on the album.
Finally, there’s the fun-filled and energetic two-step remix of one of the album’s hit singles to round things off, and like all the very best end tracks it makes you want to go back to the beginning and start all over again.