Gnarls Barkley

Sure, "Crazy" was one of those rare ubiquitous hits that never lost its luster after its hundredth spin, but after a couple go-throughs of 2006's uneven St. Elsewhere this critic really started to miss the Goodie Mob incarnation of Cee-Lo—or at least the one who crooned raspy but rich Al Greenisms over Pharrell beats on his last solo record. Then Gnarls Barkley dropped their second album earlier this year, and it actually clicked: There's no feel-good summer jam here, but the craft put into this record supersedes any gimmick-supergroup accusations their debut might have spurred. The Odd Couple is melancholy soul-rock done right, with Danger Mouse's '60s fixations dialed back from pop-art whimsy to nostalgia-immune modernism and Cee-Lo's neuroses delivered artfully by a singer who knows how to make them relatable. It's what rock 'n' roll would've sounded like if it had leapfrogged all its metal/punk/grunge/indie mutations and landed directly in the middle of the hip-hop generation. All ages.
Wed., Aug. 27, 7:30 p.m., 2008

 
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