Music Review: Gnarls Barkley “The Odd Couple”

Gnarles Barkley, the collaborative effort of neo-soul artist Cee-lo and producer Brain “Danger Mouse” Burton returns with “the Odd Couple”, a sophomore record that dares to break the mold of the follow-up record. Explanation: There is no “Crazy” on this album. There doesn’t need to be. Neither are many of the other elements of the strangeness “St. Elsewhere” flung into the popular culture. Be it Mickey Mouse vocals or over all party atmosphere. Instead Gnarls Barkley strips it’s spaceship of all the unneeded lasers and warp drives and gets down the it’s bare minimum. Brian Burtons “melted rainbows” colorful production and Cee-Lo’s Gospel Charged vocals, it’s this minimalism that allows a lot of the emotion that was buried under the layers of “St. Elsewhere” to finally shine through. And I think that’s what “The Odd Couple” boils down to. It’s a neo-church, with Cee-Lo delivering an assortment of messages. Touching on the stormy subjects that sail across the mind. But despite this stripped down image, Gnarls Barkley isn’t afraid to release their inner child. “Whatever” could in be seen as the Lil’ Bush equivalent of a Gnarls Barkley song with Lil’ Cee-Lo throwing his toys at anyone who crosses his path. All the way to “Blind Mary”, a song about a vision impaired lady who’s still doing quite well. “She’s never seen the sunshine/Yet she’s still doing just fine.” “The Odd Couple”, in other words is a very good sophomore album. Yes, it might play it safe by being minimal but it seems almost by accident that that’s exactly what was needed. Indeed it’s a wonderful combination of the most talented producer and soul-singer in the music industry today.