Gorillaz — Meanwhile — EP Review

Alternative | Electronic | Indie | Rap

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I feel that at this point, the virtual band sensation that is Gorillaz need very little to no introduction. Of course, they were one of those artists that struck their golden years early on, namely with their first three records.

And while getting back to form in the late 2010s proved to be a bit of a rocky reunion, I was relieved to see that they well and truly let us know that they were back with a creative and nostalgic vengeance, with the release of their most recent album, 2020’s Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez.

It was this album where me and many others felt worked far better in favour of Gorillaz, as opposed to albums like Humanz and The Now Now, as it was a project that had far more emphasis on the singles within it, and thus, the features within the singles. In fact, Song Machine Season 1 felt like one of the most iconic musical representations of 2020 as a whole, for that too was a Strange Time (pun fully intended). Being blessed with a single release almost every month, in the lead up to the album. made Song Machine Season One a far easier album to warm up to.

But of course, that was 2020; a year which is now behind us. I am now here reviewing a few more Gorillaz singles, and much newer ones of that. They have arrived in the form of Gorillaz’s brand new EP, Meanwhile.

Of course, when I say “brand new”, I am a few weeks late to this one. But with the sheer amount of thing popping up in my life, such as a new job and a handful of festivals, I digress.

Besides, it felt well and truly clear, from the moment I discovered this EP, that it serves as a kind of way to keep the Gorillaz coals hot, while they are supposedly working on a bigger project, hence its title of Meanwhile.

What makes this project seem like even more of a kind of “stop-gap” EP, is its timespan being fairly short, even by EP standards. With a total of three tracks, Meanwhile clocks in at just under 10 minutes.

In my mind, the first of these three tracks, is arguably the strongest. Sharing the same title as the EP itself, “Meanwhile” features the likes of Jelani Blackman and Barrington Levy. With their involvement, this track almost comes across as a unique Gorillaz take on some kind of UK Drill tune. Either way, its insanely catchy, and masterfully produced, so kudos for that.

The second track was also very enjoyable as well. With a slower, more bouncy rhythm to it, “Jimmy Jimmy” not only features AJ Tracey, but sees the return of the all-nostalgic harmonica melodies you would expect to hear on the virtual band’s self-titled debut.

The third and final track, is actually listed as a live track. And while this on its own already throws a bit of a spanner into the flow of the under-10-minute project, “Déjà vu” doesn’t feel nearly as much like a Gorillaz track either. It simply feels like some kind of UK contemporary reggae tune that Damon Albarn just happened to barge into. Perhaps it’s the more live nature of the track, but I felt like the Gorillaz side of the song should’ve been worked on for a bit more time.

Either way, as if I needed any reminder of the creativity behind Gorillaz, I have a small one anyway. Was it needed? Not necessarily. Did I still enjoy it for the most part? Yes.

Favourite Tracks: Meanwhile | Jimmy Jimmy

Least Favourite Track: Déjà vu

Parlophone Records

Enjoyment: ★★★ | Memorability: ★★ | Atmosphere: ★★★★

Uniqueness: ★★★ | Satisfaction: ★★ | Narrative: ★★

Final Score: ★★★

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.