I have never heard Damon Albarn before, i found about this album from a combination of play on mtv and knowledge of past projects including Dan the Automator and Del, a unique halfway underground rapper who pops up in the strangest places. Anyone coming from my perspective will be surprised by this album - hell, anyone will be surprised by this album. It is an utterly effortless fusion of delicious lo fi hip hop, relaxed dub, and energetic punk rock. The combination of such bold and surefooted experimentation and the catchy hooks that got it on mtv in the first place is unprecedented.
The album is varied and it has a few slow points (Man Research, Sound Check), but they don't really get in the way, they just give breathing room between the joyful and dark whirlwind of culture. As for good tracks, there is the rhythmic gimmick of rock joint 5/4, the impenetrable lyrics and the pure punk power of Punk. Clint Eastwood (why is it called clint eastwood?) is a perfect single, with its catchy hook and Del's paced lyricism, and Rock the House and Double Bass are excellent bits of rhythmically infections production. Latin Simone is a great song, and the whole Cuban thing comes out of nowhere, and M1 A1 - well, I don't get it, but I can't help singing along with what I think Albarn is saying.
All in all, this Gorillaz project is a total success of an experiment. The persona of the band is fascinating and adds to the fun and humorous but kind of dark atmosphere of the most delightfully weird pop cd ever made.