Gorillaz, the virtual band created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett of Blur and Tank Girl, respectively, first gained the affection of Japan, the disdain of Brits and the skepticism of the Yanks. Now, after the acclaimed 2005 release Demon Days and the huge single “Feel Good Inc.,” the band holds a middle ground of respect on all sides.
The band never needs to sleep or eat – they are cartoon characters, after all – which may give them the super-magical power to toss out handfuls of hit songs like candy at a parade. Welcome to Gorillaz’s second ‘B-sides’ album – the first, G-Sides, was met with both raised eyebrows (there’s a reason they’re B-Sides, right?) and applause (for the remixes). This latest two-disc compilation, entitled D-Sides, dishes out the same concept, designed for true blue fans or club DJs looking for something new to get people shaking it on the dance floor.
The remix disc presents original songs from Demon Days repackaged in shiny new wrappers. “Feel Good Inc.” gets a raver treatment from Stanton Warrior; Albarn’s deadpan and world-weary vocals sound almost lost amidst the swirling beats. “Dare” gets special attention with three remixes by DFA, Soulwax and Junior Sanchez. DFA gives it more swagger than its original straightforward dance beat. Junior Sanchez fills it in with chorus vocals, a faster beat and a touch of sparkly electric guitar while Soulwax’s version effeminates the vocals and muddies up the key by making it even more minor and adding ethereal effects. Hot Chip mellows out the already-subdued “Kids With Guns” with a watery bass line and blurry effects.
The problem with living on a candy diet is that it jolts with a quick buzz of energy then leaves you crashing. Hopefully, these ‘toons truly do have super powers and will throw out another substantial meal a la Demon Days before we get too hungry.