Space Monkeyz / Gorillaz

Laika Come Home

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The enormous success of Gorillaz' self-titled debut spawned a couple of collections from the animated hip-hop group as a way of satisfying their public until their Svengalis, Dan "The Automator" Nakamura and Damon Albarn, could reconvene to deliver new material. G-Sides was a more or less straightforward B-sides collection, while Laika Come Home offered a unique twist on the remix album. Instead of hiring several DJs and artists to remix the group's songs, Albarn and Nakamura had Space Monkeyz, who did a dub version of "Tomorrow Comes Today" as a B-side for that single, rework all of Gorillaz' songs as dub excursions. While the actual identities of the Space Monkeyz are questionable, gorillaz.com says they are "mutant offspring of the monkey cosmonauts sent into space during the Cold War" -- their remixing skills and dedication to authentic-sounding dub are undeniable. An appropriately laid-back, playful feel permeates Laika Come Home; the album's best moments, such as "19/2000 (Jungle Fresh)," "New Genius (Brother) (Mutant Genius)," and "M1A1 (Lil' Dub Chefin')" explore the dub influences at the root of Gorillaz' sound and offer a fun, fresh take on the songs. In all, while it's not as exciting -- or, arguably, necessary -- as a new Gorillaz album, Laika Come Home is still a more satisfying work than the usual boring and/or unpredictable remix album. Fans awaiting the Gorillaz' next move will be sufficiently entertained by this summery, spacy collection.

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