The delightfully weird cartoon band Gorillaz has teamed up with numerous guest stars over the years, but this might be their best one yet. The Cure frontman and totally-not-goth icon Robert Smith has joined animated members 2-D, Murdoc, Noodle, and Russel for a new song called “Strange Timez.”
In reality, Gorillaz is Blur frontman and musician Damon Albarn, who performs most of the music. Tank Girl illustrator Jamie Hewlett created the characters and draws all the animations.
The video for “Strange Timez” finds the Gorillaz taking a trip to the moon aboard an RV rocketship, while the unmistakable image of Robert Smith floats across the face of satellite panels.
“Strange Timez” is the sixth installment in a series of songs from Gorillaz called Song Machine that features a broad array of collaborators. The project began in January and includes spontaneous singles released as they’re created. They’ve previously released songs in the series called “Momentary Bliss” and “Pac-man.” In October, a series of ten songs will be compiled into a full-length album.
Gorillaz are most frequently associated with the hip-hop scene, though their genre-bending music fuses elements of synthpop and alternative dance. It’s clear that Albarn is a fan of ’80s new wave and synthpop, whose influence can be heard in Blur.
In April, Gorillaz teamed up with another ’80s icon, former Joy Division and New Order bassist Peter Hook. He performs an unmistakably Hooky bassline on an excellent track called “Aries” that has that classic New Order sound.
Robert Smith is no stranger to collaborations himself. He most recently performed guest vocals on a track by The Twilight Sad called “There’s a Girl in the Corner.” But his best-known collab is the Crystal Castles’ phenom “Not in Love,” which is a mainstay in gothic-industrial nightlife. The Cure is also working on a new album that, in a weird bit of synergy with the new Gorillaz video, has the working title, “Live From the Moon.”