Gorillaz men finish Monkey business

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Monkey – Journey To The West
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Damon Albarn’s capacity for re-invention is one of the givens of this century’s pop music. Beyond Gorillaz, and the Good, The Bad and The Queen, though, here he attempts more of a stretch: a score for a Chinese opera. Albarn and Gorillaz chum Jamie Hewlett’s Monkey: Journey To The West probably made for a more interesting theatrical experience than it does standalone album, but if the form – expressive, exaggerated musical drama – is bit unfamiliar, then Albarn’s insidious tunes are not.

Albarn immersed himself in Chinese traditional instruments and methods, but here “The Living Sea” and “Confessions Of A Pig” are strangely tuneful and familiar, with “I Love Buddha” even being reminiscent of Albarn’s traditional end-of-the-pier Britpop oompahs.

JOHN ROBINSON

Pic credit: PA Photos