Album of the Week: Gorillaz, 'Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez'

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Gorillaz, 'Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez'
Gorillaz, 'Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez' (Parlophone)
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David Safar - Album of the Week: Gorillaz, 'Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez'
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Gorillaz's seventh studio album is a sonic collage of sounds from the Song Machine series they launched earlier this year. According to the brain trust of Gorillaz, Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, there wasn't a plan to make an album. Yet, the final drop of the series, and the full release, showcases what the group does best by crafting brilliant musical tapestries rich with sounds from around the world.

Primarily released as singles and EPs, Gorillaz have outdone themselves when it comes to artist collaborations and featured guests. Subtitled Strange Timez, season one of the Song Machine includes contributions from goth rock icon Robert Smith to art rock visionary, St. Vincent. While the album features heavy hitters like Elton John on "The Pink Phantom," you'll want to listen to the deluxe edition to hear how Albarn enlisted artists from the globe which you hear on "Momentary Bliss" featuring UK rapper SlowThai, and "MLS," with Japanese indie rockers, Chai.

It makes sense that a concept band who was ahead of their time when releasing their debut in 2001 sounds of the moment in 2020. Gorillaz always filled the space between genres that countless acts try to master. Over two decades, you hear how Albarn and Hewlett's vision to form a virtual band no longer seems out of place as life and music has gone virtual.

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