At a time when we need “virtual” heroes more than ever, out of the collective psyche and the Kong Studios portal comes Aries, the third episode of the brilliant new Gorillaz ‘Song Machine’ video series. In this latest installment, our absolute favorite animated band, aided and abetted by New Order bassist Peter Hook and alt-pop singer/producer Georgia, has left behind the very real Lake Como featured in episode two’s Désolé, for a virtual Moroccan backdrop by way of a green screen (responsible social distancing, of course).
“Aries” the song, a synth-pop dreamscape that borrows heavily from Hook’s iconic Manchester band (if you told us it was a unreleased Factory track, we would believe you straight away), perfectly encapsulates the current state of globally-felt universal isolation. In the accompanying film short, we find “frenemies” 2D and Murdoc riding through a desolate North African landscape, largely devoid of color, save a red-tinged sky—a nod, perhaps, to the planet Mars, named after the Roman God of War…and otherwise known as Aries to the Greeks.
With Murdoc grinning devilishly behind him, and his bandmates zipping past in their own vehicles on deserted motorways, Damon Albarn’s alter-ego 2D croons:
“‘cause I feel so isolated without you
I can’t play a happy tune on my own
So stay by my side
High or low tide”
When the ability to make human connections is suddenly lost, time spent with a frenemy seems better than the alternative. Or is it? As Gorillaz guitarist Noodle notes, “Highly impatient and competitive, many Aries’ have the fighting spirit of your mythological ruler.”
And what exactly does Murdoc have in that syringe he’s wielding? Remember, the last time we saw Murdoc, his bandmates had ditched him to visit Lake Como. Stay tuned….episode four can’t be far behind.