Plastic Beach — Gorillaz — W.A.C.#3


Plastic Beach

My thoughts

OK – my first question here is how was this album not bigger than it was? We looked at Demon days last week that really lit a spark in music at the time, there was something slightly different to bring to the table but this is the third album, the follow up and it didn’t seem to hit the same chord. WHY?! It’s not any weirder or more experimental, there are still tracks with hooks… what happened?

The album opens with Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach that is really incredibly reserved; Snoop Dog gives this tempered, dub vibe to the proceedings. Overall this album is a slow burner, designed not to fire everything at you at once but saying that, it has so much to offer. White Flag follows, which fuses a western rap with an eastern feel and an almost 8 bit sound, it’s really well done; honestly just jump in and give a listen now!

The album keeps building; Rhinestone Eyes is really good, taking that filtered vocal sound that you heard in Feel Good inc. and layering it over a much more chilled track. I really like it.

I have to stop myself here cause I could give each track its attention and I only have a limited word count! Basically its a huge under representation. This album builds, not to a climax, but to a groove; you are at home with your sound here and you want to keep hearing it. I love Superfast Jellyfish, it’s a little silly in its sound but its so well worked, that chorus is really nice, it’s a really basic but really solid harmony with the vocals. It has the right sort of backing, again there is nothing too laboured in this album, which personally, I love.

The track that most remember on this album is On Melancholy Hill, for good reason, that riff is so much of an earworm! They take full advantage, chord wise, of half of Pachelbel’s canon, from the 1600’s, many musicians do but I think here it’s pretty gorgeous.

So this album features its more aggressive moments but the overall vibe is chill and that stands even in the less accessible tracks. Glitter Freeze is a prime example here, which just has simple memorable music motifs. I guess this is my point about this album; you’re never going to get the really abrasive sound that sometimes you might experience elsewhere, but it’s not about that. I personally think this is a really masterful sound control and, for me, I might even prefer it to Demon Days… oh it’s close…

Just listen to that closing track, it’s a dub heavy lilt called Pirate Jet the vocals are mildly discordant, the track has a really dub-y feel to it. The beat is straightforward and the synth is somewhat basic… but everything works. Yes, that’s the take here; everything in this album works. Don’t look to be blasted with greatness, look to be massaged by it.

Is this album for you?

I would like to think anyone can listen to this and get something out of it. It has so much to give and I really loved it. Just give yourself an evening to listen to it and it really works you. Personally, I think this album is one of the least alienating I’ve looked at.


  • Writing: 9/10
  • Performance: 8/10
  • Style: 8.5/10
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