By: Eric Greenwood
It must feel strangely ironic for Damon Albarn finally to find success in America with his fluke cartoon side band Gorillaz, while his true love, Blur, struggled for a decade only to make a commercial dent with that “woo-hoo!” song ("Song 2" off 1997's Blur), which now only gets played during the halftime shows of professional sporting events. I doubt he'll complain, though, that Demon Days, Gorillaz’ sophomore effort, sold an astounding 107,000 copies in its first week. How? Who is buying this thing?
Ditching Dan the Automator (over some sort of fued) for RIAA bad boy, Danger Mouse, Albarn employs another eclectic philosophy, combining hip-hop, sampling, electro-pop, proto-punk, and pop to masterful effect. For some reason, expectations automatically register lower when a band is comprised of fictional characters drawn by the creator of Tank Girl, so Demon Days often surprises with its dark-tinged dance beats and lackadaisical air mixed with post-punk weariness. Dennis Hopper's inexplicable appearance on "Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head" certainly confounds the whole experience. But Albarn's ability to slither arrogantly from genre to genre while maintaining his charm is truly remarkable.