Spacemonkeyz vs. Gorillaz

Laika Come Home (Astralwerks)

After putting one over on the public — by which I mean the fanatical hundreds who keep up with Damon Albarn's digital circle jerks — the Blur front man, Dan Nakamura, Jaime Hewlett and everyone else collecting royalties three albums in for one album's worth of real, ahem, work return with yet another redo-redub-remix-rehash collection selling for $19.98 MSRP. Not that there's not the occasional track worth seeking out — say, "M1A1," featuring two-tone Terry Hall making something special out of something, oh, not — but overall, what this collection lacks in class it makes up for in crass. Likely, we'll look back in three months' time, around the time this record is redone once more as funk or punk or klezmer, and consider G-sides the album of Integrity and Merit. As if.

In other words, this is Gorillaz dubbed up and slowed down, which isn't much of an improvement, considering most of what appeared on the 2001 original was b-b-boring to begin with. Albarn's out to claim the title of Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindler, if only he'd rock 'n' roll just a little bit; it's all starting to sound a little . . . blurry. With the Spacemonkeyz in tow (on a rope made of gold, likely), Gorillaz monkey with their old stuff (what, a week old?) and make it sound older. I seem to recall I had all this on vinyl in 1983, when two-tone wasn't one-note, or on CD in 1997, back when rock critics were still trying to sell Lee "Scratch" Perry to the unsuspecting, unstoned public.

Nice work if you can get it — or if you can call it "work" at all. Me, I'm a little tired of being Damon's cash machine whenever he needs to make a withdrawal but hasn't the time or inclination to make a deposit with a check, or CD, that doesn't bounce.

 
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