Danger Mouse & Sparklehourse, "Dark Night of the Soul"

3.5

"Dark Night of the Soul," the long-awaited collaboration between producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz, the Black Keys) and psych-rock act Sparklehorse (aka the late Mark Linkous), features an impressive list of contributors, including the Strokes' Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop, Jason Lytle, the Flaming Lips and filmmaker David Lynch. But it's the airtight beats of Danger Mouse and the surreal songwriting of Linkous that make this a fascinating set. With tracks ranging from alternative rock to raging punk, Lynch's grim photography of bizarre-looking families in the CD booklet complement the music. Over a pulsating bassline, the hauntingly beautiful "Revenge" (featuring the Flaming Lips) touches on the complications of acting upon the impulse of revenge, while the acoustic ballad "Jaykub" (featuring Lytle) tells the story of a praised performer who feels isolated within fame. Despite the album's title, it's not all gloom and doom-Casablancas tells the tale of a wicked female on the upbeat song "Little Girl" and Iggy Pop makes depression seem fun on the distorted head-banger "Pain."