Damon Albarn exorcises a few musical demons on the follow-up to the Gorillaz’ self-titled debut, mixing up a cauldron of hip-hop and dark pop, tossed with a few zombie movie and spaghetti western soundtracks for good luck. Thanks to the contribution of producer Danger Mouse, the colourful result is a spellbinding, if sometimes uneven, musical experience that should delight fans of the first album. The Gorillaz crew maintains its anime-inspired cartoon identity, but sounds of guest appearances are harder to disguise. Virtual bandmates 2-D, Noodle, Russel and Murdoc share airspace with real stars Roots Manuva, Neneh Cherry, Booty Brown, MF Doom and actor Dennis Hopper, while De La Soul provides the happy-happy sounds for “Feel Good Inc.,” the album’s first dance-floor single.
—Sue Carter Flinn