Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple

Gnarls Barkley's second album is a good step forward for the duo. It's not what I'd call better than their debut, but it's hard to say it's worse, and it's definitely more focused. It's not quite as fun, but it's still plenty entertaining. There aren't any crazy songs like "Transformer", but they still have some fun in between some more depressing and downbeat songs. Despite the shift in tone, it's identifiably the same band, with Danger Mouse coming up with some great beats and Cee-Lo providing nice R&B vocals. Nothing is as immediately grabbing and infectious as "Crazy", but few songs ever written are.

The album's without a single standout song, but almost all of them are good enough to keep the album enjoyable all the way through. Some enjoyable moments are the female vocals in "Charity Case", the chorus in "Run (I'm a Natural Disaster)", and the hand claps and backing choir in "Surprise". "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" has a great music video, and is a very good song, with a morose but memorable beat and nice chorus. "Open Book" sounds almost tribal, but has a syncopated rhythm keeping it modern and some powerful singing. "Blind Mary" is the record's lightest-hearted song, and a pretty catchy one. "Neighbors" also has nice vocal work. It's a pretty consistent album, it just doesn't quite reach their previous effort's heights. They've stated they're only going to create one more album, so I hope it continues to evolve their sound as much as this did.

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