Music

Gorillaz & Thundercat Join the Dance Surge With “Cracker Island”

Gorillaz’s first 2022 single, “Cracker Island,” sees the animated UK band paired with Thundercat for a danceable effort that debuted on their world tour.

Gorillaz, have teamed up with psychedelic singer-songwriter and bass guitarist Thundercat to release “Cracker Island.” The single, Gorillaz’s first of the year, is a dark dance hit that debuted live when the band kicked off their world tour in Uruguay this April.

The new single features production assists from Greg Kurstin, best known for his work with Adelle, and long-time Gorillaz collaborator, Remi Kabaka Jr.

A funk-laced dancefloor drop-in with a sinister edge, the timing of the “Cracker Island” release smartly coincides with a surge in social media buzz around house music, led by Drake’s new album, Honestly Nevermind, and the Beyoncé single, “BREAK MY SOUL.”

Thundercat’s airy, futuristic vocal assist naturally frames Albarn’s weighty grit, and his bass flourishes likely spark the jealous ire of Gorillaz’s unmagnanimous bass player of two decades, the green (literally) and ominous Murdoc Nicaals. Responsible for bringing the band together in the substantial Gorillaz lore, Nicaals fittingly dons the attire of a cult leader for the single’s promotional artwork. A dark dance track that directs the ecstasy of their tour crowd and demands movement in time with the band’s sonic commands seems like something he would leap at.

“Cracker Island” was teased with a 15-second clip of the band’s fictional lead singer, 2D, nodding off in the back seat of a car, hollowed eyes fluttering and sagging head knocking off the window as rain cascades down outside. The blurry neon lights fading in the background and the single’s deep bass give the impression that the animated rockstar has just snagged a long ride home from a longer night at the clubs.

“It’s nice to be back, I’m well into our new tune, it brings back weird and scary memories of stuff that hasn’t happened yet,” 2D said in a press release.

2D’s vision of the future hints at the chaotic energy of the band’s ongoing world tour — a fate likely sealed by the new single and surge in enthusiasm for its club-centric sound. Gorillaz will be joined on tour by the Atlanta hip-hop duo EARTHGANG — renowned for eccentricity and thrilling performances of their own — and the acclaimed UK funk band Jungle.

“Cracker Island” isn’t Albarn’s first foray into the electronic this year, though it’s the first under the Gorillaz name. Early this year, his vocals floated fittingly atop “Palaces,” the closing song on Australian DJ Flume’s third studio album.

Brandon Hill

Brandon is a young writer from Illinois. His love of storytelling draws him to hip hop and journalism.

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