Gorillaz, the world’s most successful virtual band, have kept a low profile in recent years—their last studio album, The Fall, came out in late 2010. What’s more, the group, visualized and co-conceived by Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn, hasn’t been seen in a new music video since 2012. With the release of the video for “Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)”, the characters of 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs are back. The new album, Humanz, is due out April 28.
Hewlett is a revered presence in British alt-comics, and will be forever associated with Tank Girl (created with Alan Martin), which was an immediate sensation upon its debut in 1988. Hewlett’s days as a “comic book artist” are long gone; he’s now a cultural force who’s tried his hand at television, musical theater, and even gallery art. He created Gorillaz with Albarn (of Blur) in 1998, and the group has been a commercial and chart success over the course of four studio albums and singles that include “Clint Eastwood,” “Feel Good Inc.,” and “Dare.”
The release of these four (actually, five) videos last week gives Gorillaz fans an increasingly clear picture of what the 26-track Humanz is about, following the very first burst—two months ago, on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration—in the form of the protest song “Hallelujah Money.” Albarn told an interviewer that, when the group was writing the album in early 2016, he instructed his collaborators to “just imagine the weirdest, most unpredictable thing happening, that changes everything about the world.” The scenario they envisioned? Donald Trump winning the American Presidential election. Humanz “is not about Donald Trump at all,” Albarn says. “But that was our dark fantasy, and unfortunately it became reality.”
But enough words. Here’s what we have from Gorillaz’ Humanz album to date. The first commercial single and video, “Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)”:
Three “official audio” clips, for the tracks “Andromeda,” Ascension,” and “We Got the Power”:
And then there’s “Saturnz Barz” in 360 video, which is interesting:
Finally, here’s “Hallelujah Money”: