Monday, 14 June 2010

2005 Gorillaz featuring Shaun Ryder: DARE

Though they have a number one apiece, Gorillaz are a 'cartoon' band who've never been burdened with the baggage of bile that fixed itself to The Archies. Quite the opposite in fact, but then the comparison is not a level one; despite the cartoon similarities (and both acts had equally well developed back stories for each of the 'band member characters') nobody was ever left in any doubt as to who the people pulling the Gorillaz strings were (chiefly Blur's Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett ). Their names or faces might not have been on their covers, but for all the media hype and promotion surrounding them, they may as well have been. Would The Archies - either now or then - be regarded in a new light if it were revealed that its was actually Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Brian Wilson and Jim Morrison behind the drawings? Ah, I doubt it - The Archies (and 'Sugar Sugar') played it for pop fun, not critical kudos. And through never seeking the credibility edge that Gorillaz thrived on, there would have been little opportunity for any drops of that creative talent to seep through.

But apart from all the obvious, 'Sugar Sugar' and 'DARE' share a lot more DNA than they would care to admit. 'Sugar Sugar' might be less cryptic, but neither song has much to say for itself beyond a self generating, good time dance vibe. 'DARE' though is a hip hop/dance hybrid with a shuffling funk that fair drips with sweat. Only that sweat doesn't drip from its dance groove but from the tension of its own pretension and studious attempt to be so very 'now'. And if it's unfair to say that 'DARE' never breaks free of the straitjacket of its own conceit, it's certainty stymied by it (which is something that never bothered The Archies). 'DARE' sounds like a track that was born, gestated and worked up entirely in a studio following a pre-conceived remit with one eye on the zeitgeist; a fine approach if you're 10CC, not so in this field. Having Shaun Ryder guest is another careful tick in the credibility column, but his vocal only serves to remind of the Happy Monday's own loose fit, yet no less bone rattlingly inventive, take on the genre. In comparison, 'DARE' is as loose as a tourniquet with a 'beats in splints' rhythm that's too stiff for its own good with a constant repetition and lack of adventure that renders it something of a bore long before it finishes. Anything but DARING in fact.

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