Album: Gnarls Barkley <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

Ever since he emerged from the shadow of his chums in Outkast and Goodie Mob to establish himself as a solo artist, Cee-Lo Green has sounded like a world-beater in search of the right vehicle. Now, in tandem with the Gorillaz producer Danger Mouse, Cee-Lo has finally hit paydirt as the sharp end of Gnarls Barkley, whose sublime "Crazy" looks set to be the single of the year, a proper symphonic-soul masterpiece in an era of watered-down R&B. Danger Mouse assembles a wide range of settings for Cee-Lo's sly, emotionally engaging vocals, with the cautionary "Smiley Faces" offering an updated take on Motown's swingy charm, "Go-Go Gadget Gospel" harnessing a sped-up horn riff to a garage beat, and "Gone Daddy Gone" building a powerful techno-rock groove on a descending synth-line. For his part, Cee-Lo brings an edgy, idiosyncratic slant to R&B lyricism, writing songs about feng shui and Transformers, and unveiling the new subgenre horror-soul with "Boogie Monster" and "Necromancing" ("It's very naughty, necrophilia/ Without a care, I'm compassionate about killing her/ I have my way with what's left of the will in her"). Yes, "very naughty" about covers it.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Crazy', 'Go-Go Gadget Gospel', 'Smiley Faces', 'Storm Coming'