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Smiley Faces by Gnarls Barkley

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Reviewed on 31st July 2006.


Smiley Faces

By Gnarls Barkley

Having deleted all-conquering debut single 'Crazy' after a mere nine weeks at number one, Messers Mouse and Green, poised as they were on the brink of a Bryan Adams/Wet Wet Wet-style public hanging, surely now deserve an honorary knighthood or a Buckingham Palace garden party invite at the very least.

And there's more good news, because although breezy follow-up 'Smiley Faces' certainly won't fill as many dancefloors or primetime radio playlists, it is as perfect a soundtrack to a freak tarmac-melting heatwave as you could wish for.

"Put on a smiling face" is Gnarls' simple summer advice, and it would be churlish not to take heed. Admittedly this may depend on whether you are cursing the ineffectiveness of the office air-conditioning system or frothing with excitement at the imminent eight-week school holidays.

You can't keep a good tune down though, and while lacking anything as vulgar as a sing-along chorus, you'd have to have toes made of stone not to tap along to Danger Mouse's organ-driven update of the old Supremes/Motown backbeat.

Closer inspection of Cee-Lo's happy-go-lucky lyric reveals 'Smiley Faces', like much of 'St. Elsewhere', is actually about pain, suffering, depression and madness, but don't let that put you off.

Gospel backing vocals, sci-fi sound FX, scary low voices in the middle bit, number one at Christmas? Yes, yes, yes and no. Everyone goes home happy, then.



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