The Odd Couple It may be presumptuous to assume who plays slovenly Oscar to fastidious Felix in Gnarls Barkley. Still, this Odd Couple has proven surprisingly well-matched. After… The Odd Couple It may be presumptuous to assume who plays slovenly Oscar to fastidious Felix in Gnarls Barkley. Still, this Odd Couple has proven surprisingly well-matched. After… 2008-04-01 Gnarls Barkley Pop
Music Review

The Odd Couple (2008)

Gnarls Barkley | GNARLS BARKLEY The Odd Couple , the dense second album from Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo Green, is a compulsively listenable, if somber, effort
GNARLS BARKLEY The Odd Couple, the dense second album from Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo Green, is a compulsively listenable, if somber, effort
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Apr 01, 2008; Lead Performance: Gnarls Barkley; Genre: Pop

It may be presumptuous to assume who plays slovenly Oscar to fastidious Felix in Gnarls Barkley. Still, this Odd Couple has proven surprisingly well-matched. After all, their pairing yielded a Grammy-winning debut, 2006's St. Elsewhere, and the interplay between avant producer Danger Mouse and rapper/singer/Curtis Mayfield disciple Cee-Lo Green remains a gratifying alchemical achievement.

Alas, there is no genre-smashing standout single à la ''Crazy'' here. But The Odd Couple, Gnarls' dense second album (unexpectedly released three weeks before its originally scheduled April 8 drop date), is a compulsively listenable, if somber, effort. Where Elsewhere was shaded with melancholy and paranoia beneath its party-starter exterior, on Odd, the duo goes all-out apocalyptic. The dolefully paced ''Who's Gonna Save My Soul'' is nearly dirgelike: ''I wonder if I'll live to grow old now/Getting high because I feel so low down.'' Meanwhile, first single ''Run,'' with its charging horns and call-and-response vocals, is musically more propulsive but hardly comforting, and neither is the song's subtitle, ''I'm a Natural Disaster.'' Nevertheless, Odd is impeccably produced and impressively layered, an esoteric love letter to both of-the-moment studio trickery and bone-deep vintage soul. It might well let down the dance floor — and for that Gnarls will likely pay in sales — but it's rare that anything beat-driven reveals this much humanity, no matter how darkly expressed. B+
DOWNLOAD THIS: ''Neighbors''

Originally posted Mar 19, 2008 Published in issue #984 Mar 28, 2008 Order article reprints
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