Damon Albarn's cartoon pop side-project was only ever meant as a joke in the first place. To everyone's surprise, however, the first Gorillaz album proved to be such a massive hit that expectations for the follow-up are almost as high as they would be for the next Blur offering. Thankfully, Demon Days is a thrillingly dark, eclectic and endlessly inventive record that surpasses its predecessor in virtually all departments. Stylistically it's all over the shop, meandering from hip-hop to lo-fi indie, with hefty dollops of electro-pop and world music thrown into the mix. Albarn himself, meanwhile, stays largely in the background, handing the limelight to an unlikely array of guest stars including Roots Manuva, Neneh Cherry and Shaun Ryder. Britpop has never seemed so far away, but its greatest talent is now forging his own unique style - and he's still one of the biggest beasts in the jungle.