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Gorillaz | G Sides | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop


G Sides (Virgin)
by Lex Marburger

Anybody not know who these guys are (or aren't, for that matter)?* Pseudonyms and non-existent players aside, Gorillaz, what (who)ever they may be, are unexpectedly popular. Why unexpected? Because they're actually good. Case in point: G-Sides, an EP and remix album that further cements their hold in the mainstream's consciousness. What you get on G-Sides are remixes and reworkings of "19-2000," "Latin Simone (Que Pasa Contigo)," and "Clint Eastwood (Phi Life Cypher Version)," unreleased tracks ("Faust," "The Sounder"), and some UK B-sides ("Ghost Train," "Hip Albatross," and "12D3").

So, to work... "19-2000 (Soul Child Remix)" picks up the tempo a little bit, axing the reggae groove (oh, you might know this one by the video, where the Gorillaz are driving around in their jeep while Noodle sings "get the cool shoeshine" or something). Not too bad, certainly better than "19-2000 (The Wise Guys House of Wisdom Remix)" which is pure techno. Like, club crap. Ah well, ya can't win 'em all. Luckily, that's as bad as it gets. 2D gets his turn at "Latin Simone (Que Pasa Contigo)," taking over the vocals from Ibrahim Ferrer (y'know, the Spanish dude). "Clint Eastwood (Phi Life Cypher Version)" features raps by, you guessed it, Phi Life Cypher rather than Del the Funky Homosapien. It's nice to see how two people will approach the base of the song. Anyhoo, "The Sounder" also has Phi Life Cypher taking the raps while 2D backs it up with a scratchy falsetto, supported by Noodle's tweaked-out acoustic plucking. "Faust" has Murdoc stepping up with a blown-speaker sound on his bass for this instrumental (mostly; Miho Hatori takes some lines in Japanese), with Russell sounding exactly like a cheap drum machine... Well, the less speculation on that, the better. "Ghost Train" starts out by going Gorilla Gospel call-and-response before hitting with a pseudo-electronica dance beat, turning a soulful bassline into a hip party number. "Hip Albatross," in addition to containing samples from the movies Day of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead, puts the rhythm section swinging slow in an echo chamber with 2D crooning as per Blur. "12D3" is a Noodle feature, her guitar looping gently as the rest of them whisper "1-2-D-3." Private joke? Undoubtedly. G-Sides also contains videos for "Tomorrow Comes Today" and "Rock the House."
*Yes, I know who they are, who produced them, who draws them, and why they've gotten so much money from the marketing department. But let's play along, shall we? For me, 2D, Russell, Noodle, and Murdoc are as real as any other band I've never met. And a hell of a lot more fun than any band I've met. Other than Laibach. Just kidding...  

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