Album: Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple (Warner Brothers)

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The Independent Culture

There's a sinister undertow to several tracks on The Odd Couple, which is not surprising for a duo prepared to dress up as gladiators, chefs, nurses and characters from The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars and Austin Powers at their shows.

It's indicative of the sense of drama Gnarls Barkley bring to their work, both in the animated eclecticism of Danger Mouse's backing tracks, and the manner in which Cee-Lo adopts the personae of paranoid curtain-twitcher in "Neighbors", protesting-too-much slacker in "Whatever", and a man "interned by evil" in "Would Be Killer". The pair's best combinations usually involve an element of intrigue, as when Cee-Lo's voice soars over the blend of latin shuffle-beat and soft-rock chorale in "Surprise", or exposes his gospel roots against the sparse arrangement of "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?", the result reminiscent of Sly Stone and sundry Womacks. But it's the duo's knack for hits that impresses most, with both the frantic "Run" and the McCartneyesque "Blind Mary" sure to lodge firmly in radio schedules.

Watch Gnarls Barkley's video for 'Run' from their album 'The Odd Couple'

Pick of the album: 'Run', 'Blind Mary', 'Who's Gonna Save My Soul?', 'Surprise', 'Going On'

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