The Odd Cou­ple Gnarls Barkley At­lantic

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

GNARLS Barkley has avoided the fash­ion for all things 1980s that seems to be pre­oc­cu­py­ing most pop­sters right now. Rather, pro­ducer Bill ‘‘ Dan­ger Mouse’’ Bur­ton and singer Thomas ‘‘ Ce- Lo Green’’ Call­away have been in­flu­enced by the soul, funk and psychedelia of the late ’ 60s and early ’ 70s. And not the namby- pamby hiphop or R & B that so of­ten passes for soul th­ese days. Here it’s sur­pris­ingly gritty, even tor­tured at times, while the band con­tin­ues with its trade­mark cross- genre ex­per­i­ments. Call­away has a clas­sic soul voice, giv­ing real emo­tion to heart- on- sleeve lyrics that adds a crit­i­cal layer to the sound. There are some cracker tracks, with the hy­per- ki­netic Run ( I’m a Nat­u­ral Dis­as­ter) and the belt­ing, sun­nysound­ing, darkly lyri­cal Sur­prise top­ping the list. It’s ex­tremely tough to fol­low up a ( fun but patchy) first disc, St Else­where, that con­tained the 2006 song of the year, Crazy . The down­side was that the track over­whelmed much else around it. This time, the al­ways in­ter­est­ing duo have cre­ated a far more co­he­sive and sat­is­fy­ing album. Sharon Jones aside, soul hasn’t sounded so apt for some time.

Michael Sains­bury

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