The Good, the Bad, and the Queen

The Good, the Bad, and the Queen (Virgin)

Since wowing us with The Grey Album, Danger Mouse has been constantly on the grind, delivering modern classics one after another. Still riding the monster success of his collaboration with Cee-Lo, last year's infectious-as-herpes album from Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere, the mighty Mouse starts this year showing off yet more masterful production, Gorillaz partner Damon Albarn assembled an all-star band for The Good, the Bad, and the Queen, bringing together Clash bassist Paul Simonon, ex-Verve guitarist Simon Tong, and Afro-beat pioneer Tony Allen. The group meshes like clockwork, creating swirling melodies that provide the bulk of the tracks with a dreamlike atmosphere. The single "Kingdom of Doom" places us in a country at war, with guitars that belong in a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western creating a peculiar mystery. "The Bunting Song," "Nature Springs," and "A Soldier's Tale" take the listener to far-off places where ribbons hang in the country trees, hearts burn at night while guns unload, and soldiers go to bed in the woods. Danger Mouse's influence provides his trademark pop structures while sneaking in some hip-hop beat patterns here and there, but what would a Danger Mouse production be without a few sick beats? The result is a record fit for some mind-expanding substance or just a bottle of grain alcohol and an old, wistful soul.

 
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