You're used to the Gorillaz album cycle by now. Jamie Hewlett art drops, Damon Albarn pumps out an inhuman number of songs, and a thin story is draped over the whole thing. This time, the animated members of Gorillaz are starting a 'cult', using their upcoming album 'Cracker Island' and a hazier, pink-painted electronica vibe as a recruiting platform.
New Gold is the second single from Cracker Island, hot on the heels of the title track (which was released back in June). It features past Gorillaz collaborator Bootie Brown of The Pharcyde fame, and—cue gasp from hipsters—Tame Impala, finally bringing to fruition a meeting of the minds that had been discussed in hushed, reverent tones for years. Tame Impala is worth the wait, lending the track his trademark dreamlike sound. Undercurrents of flowing water run through the entire track, just barely audible under Tame Impala wondering if those around him know that "we're underwater." His portions of the song lean hard into the surrealism he's known for, rather putting one in mind of floating in a massive, shining sea. The issue is that it comes across sounding like just another Tame Impala track, lacking the creative spin Damon Albarn usually puts on his musical collaborators' contributions. Thundercat, for instance, was used in the album's title track to great effect, his hypnotic bassline weaving in and out from a thumping, looping synth melody. That creativity is nowhere to be seen here… and the less said about Bootie Brown, the better. The majority of the song is devoted to two monotone, borderline nonsensical verses that made me wish I was just listening to a Tame Impala song.
Gorillaz can do better and they have. It's still a Gorillaz song, and therefore good, but there's not much new about this gold.