Gorillaz have released their eighth LP, Cracker Island, featuring guest appearances from Bootie Brown, Bad Bunny, Thundercat, Stevie Nicks, Adeleye Omotayo, Tame Impala, and Beck. With a sound ranging from synthetic-funk to reggaeton, and themes of life in an artificial world and the moral decay of social existence, there is a definite Gorillaz taste to the album—but not the wanted mouthful. The stellar array of guest artists bolster singer Damon Albarn, but do not turn into the welcome collaborations they could have been. The first and titular song of the album has a great hook to keep you listening, but would be a runner-up on any of their previous LPs. The other nine songs on this trim 37-minute album do not sound like they belong with the first. The album should be another solo one for Albarn’s cartoon alter-ego 2-D, but it’s a satisfying addition to their catalogue with amazing guest talent offering background vocals. Albarn does step aside in the track “Tormenta” to let Bad Bunny give a fantastic reggaeton interlude. It is definitely a Gorillaz album that adds a retinue of musical personalities and varied sounds, instruments, and genres but also sticks with the moody dystopian messaging that true fans will find nostalgic.

-Paul Krasauskas