It’s no secret that Gorillaz has been one of my favourite bands since I got into them around 2005, and they continue to astound me to this day, with this song being no exception.
After the pot-pourri mix of genres and themes that was Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez (including features with Beck, Elton John, St. Vincent, Robert Smith of The Cure, amongst many others – one of my favourites being a mix of Chai and JPEGMafia), many a person was interested in what would come next for the virtual band helmed by Damon Albarn, with Jamie Hewlett’s excellent art. The answer to that is the introduction of the mysterious The Last Cult…
Gorillaz are currently performing a series of tours all over the world and in recent times, there have been two new songs that have been added to the setlist – one being called Silent Running, and one that had an official studio release last week (and the subject of this article), Cracker Island.
Kicking off with a foreboding synth melody and unsettling sing-talking from 2-D (the singer in the virtual band), it doesn’t take long for this song to become a groove-bomb, with the lyrics around a mysterious group of people teaching themselves to be occult, despite not knowing the strategies and practices getting somewhat diluted in their sinister nature. The reason? An extremely funky bass and guitar line (provided by Murdoc and Noodle, respectively) kicks in, mixed with the falsetto-esque feature of Thundercat’s vocals. All while this is going on, a thumping drum beat (courtesy of Russell) makes sure to keep us as the audience in rhythm with our head-bops. This combination is one of the reasons I love Gorillaz – it’s not a rock song, nor a disco song, but instead a weird amalgamation of the two, and it works.
Is it a perfect addition to the vast catalogue of Gorillaz? No. The lack of a video is a shame (despite the fact that making Gorillaz videos takes up a lot of time and money), and the muffled sing-talking is something that as a Gorillaz fan, I’m becoming a bit too familiar with (especially in live performances, where songs such as Rhinestone Eyes and Feel Good Inc. include Damon singing into a CB radio microphone to achieve a similar effect). However, the song as a whole is a dive more into an area of music that I normally wouldn’t go into myself (as more of a rock music fan), and I thought it was a very funky, danceable piece that gave off a great, almost creepy vibe that reminds me of Phase 1 Gorillaz. The instruments, especially the synth and bass, were also fantastic, and the fact that we got new art alongside the song is the cherry on the top.
As a whole, I feel like I would give this song a 7/10 in comparison to other Gorillaz tracks – by the very definition of the band, not every song is going to be the best – but this is absolutely a solid state to The Last Cult, and the supposed Static Channel. Watch this space for more…
You can find the song here, or on any of the major music streaming services!