Gnarls Barkley

    {grate 4} Although Gnarls Barkley’s experimental blend of rock, rap
    and neo-soul in St. Elsewhere was all the rage in 2006, Cee-Lo and Danger
    Mouse’s collaborative success certainly didn’t end there. The Odd Couple­ — a
    fitting title for the producer and multi-instrumentalist duo whose theatrical
    excellence has enchanted fans with costumes from the “Wizard of Oz” and “Star
    Wars” — is insistently up to par with their imaginatively illustrious freshman
    album as yet another delightfully rendered schizophrenic fairytale.

    Aiming to outdo St. Elsewhere’s Grammy-winning “Crazy,” the
    break-beat syncopation and polyrhythm of “Run (I’m a Natural Disaster)” incite
    the b-boy/b-girl inside us, yearning to bust out toprocks and headspins on
    broken-down cardboard boxes. On second thought, listening to Cee-Lo frantically
    rant and rave “I have got a beast at bay … Run children/Run for your life” also
    makes us want to punch someone in the face for no reason whatsoever. But
    whether you’re rocking it old school or embarking on an arbitrarily violent
    rampage, you’ll love “Run”’s drug-like adrenaline rush running through your veins.

    Though much slower than “Run”’s crack-induced tempo, “Who’s
    Gonna Save My Soul” also bubbles with top-20 rotation potential. Meshing Danger
    Mouse’s electronic loops and beats and Cee-Lo’s soulful Motown voice and
    menacing lyrical intensity (“Who’s gonna save my soul now … / Oooo I know I’m
    out of control now hoohooo/Tired enough to lay my own soul down”), the song is
    a moody, dramatic template typical of these musical masterminds.

    Not to be mistaken as a lackluster attempt to stray from
    traditional genres, Gnarls Barkley’s The Odd Couple ­is definitely in a
    category of its own that deserves props for its collective, multi-leveled
    intuitiveness and creativity.

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