Let’s get straight to the point here; Gorillaz’s long-awaited comeback is about as cheery as Eeyore on a raging comedown. Joined by the likes of Arcade Fire and Le Tigre over the last few months, Damon Albarn’s cartoon rabble certainly aren’t the first band to channel music into pointed protest as of late; and one suspects over the next four years, they won’t be the last, either.
’Hallelujah Money’ might rob half of its name from all things holy and heavenly, but mostly, it’s a hellish, dystopian vision of greed let loose. Featuring the baritone vocals of Benjamin Clementine, the melodies wobble about precariously, following uncomfortable patterns, and taking on a distinct whiff of menace. As choral vocals fly urgently out of site, proceedings give way to a sinister story-time. “Don’t worry, my friend,” soothes Clementine, with his irony-levels soaring off the scale. “If this be the end, then so shall it be.”
A wonky, distorted, and throughly uncomfortable slab of gospel mangled through a mill of steel teeth, ‘Hallelujah Money’ is hardly easy to digest. Then again, it sets the tone for 2017.