Gorillaz

G-Sides

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Though it seems a bit soon for a virtual group with only one album to its name to be releasing a B-sides collection, Gorillaz's G-Sides more or less justifies its existence by gathering some of the best extra tracks from the band's singles, most of which are only available as imports. As with Gorillaz, which surrounded catchy songs like "Clint Eastwood" and "19/2000" with quirkier, more experimental tracks, the band uses its B-sides as a chance to stretch out even further musically, either with remixes or with unconventional musical sketches. G-Sides features some of each, ranging from the even bouncier, more upbeat remix of "19/2000" by Soulchild to the rather eerie "Hip Albatross," which mixes samples of moaning zombies from Dawn of the Dead with trip-hoppy beats and moody guitars. Rapper Phi Life Cyber reinforces Gorillaz's hip-hop roots by joining them on two tracks, a reworking of "Clint Eastwood" and "The Sounder." The appealingly simple "12D3," with its strummy guitar and playful Damon Albarn vocals, recalls some of Blur's later work, and the funky, quirky "Ghost Train" and the English version of "Latin Simone" also are as enjoyable as anything that appeared on Gorillaz. Aside from the Wiseguys' rather limp reworking of "19/2000," the only problem with G-Sides is its brevity; the U.S. version only includes ten of their B-sides, none of which are from their biggest single, "Clint Eastwood." And while most of the import singles featured CD-ROM tracks of the group's amazing animated videos, none of them appear here. Though the enhanced version of G-Sides and the Japanese D-Sides collection feature more of Gorillaz's B-sides, and they'll probably have a video collection sooner rather than later, these kinds of omissions make G-Sides a slightly frustrating collection. Gorillaz completists will no doubt have all of the import singles already, but G-Sides is the logical next step for anyone intrigued by the group's debut.

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