Patience is one of those things that seems to matter less and less when it comes to albums these days. Many people just want specific songs and their own playlists and don't have the time, energy or maybe even imagination to let an album grow on them.

Bringing together Damon Albarn, his Gorillaz co-conspirator Simon Tong, Clash bassist Paul Simonon and Afrobeat drum master Tony Allen, The Good, The Bad & The Queen's debut isn't one of those records that makes instant connections, but it does reward perseverance - albeit not as much as it could.

Among the lines which capture the tone of what they've created here is "a stroppy little island of mixed up people" - this downbeat collection is an after-dark tour of London with some political postcards sent along the way. And to appreciate all the images and sounds you can't be in a hurry.

Albarn's gifts as a songwriter have always been in inverse proportion to his abilities as a singer and The Good, The Bad & The Queen will do nothing to change people's opinion in either direction. Those who don't like his voice could find the sound here close to the sound of 1,000 fingernails racing each other down a blackboard; others will be adamant he's perfect for the late night energy of these songs.

Harder to argue about is the fact that this album doesn't make the most use of two great talents, Simonon and Allen. A dream team rhythm section, they never get the chance to really let rip and their brilliance seems muzzled because this is a record to mope, not groove, to.

Yet the longer you spend with it, the stronger you come to the conclusion that it would be a pity if this was just a one-off. If Albarn & Co step out of the alleyways and underpasses and do some exploring during daylight hours every dancefloor could be theirs.

Harry Guerin