If there was ever a need for proof that frontmen can go on to have
much more rewarding solo careers after their respective bands, then
Mike Doughty is the proof in the pudding. Many believed that with
the demise of Soul Coughing and their unique acid jazz/trip-hop/pop
rock style electro-infused rock, the world had lost one of its greatest
humourist songwriters. But this was simply not the case. Doughty stripped
down his songs to their distinctive hearts, taking away all the flash
and beep beep, and revealed that he was a songwriter of more incredible
depth than we ever could have perceived through the sonic veils of
Soul Coughing. His first semi-release, Skittish (recently re-released
as a double album with the phenomenal e.p. Rockity Roll), was
a collection of stripped down acoustic songs that wove magical stories
behind a mix of clever wordplay and brilliant symbolism.
On Doughty's first official full length release, Haughty Melodic,
he continues to tread lyrical ground that is at once humourous, witty,
and thought provokingly dazzling. The addition of a full band to the
recording opens up the sonic ground, making the songs more immediately
likeable and more ably rock-out-to able than his previous solo records.
Each of the songs that made the record is amazing in its own right,
but standout tracks include the familiar to long-time fans "Sunken-Eyed
Girl" and the album opener "Looking At The World From The
Bottom Of A Well". The message of "Busting Up A Starbucks"
is not only extremely humourous, but also very timely and astute -
people really are insane when it comes to that coffee. "American
Car" features some of the most brilliant prose in modern rock
music: "My circus train pulls through the night/ full of lions
and trapeze artists/ I'm done with elephants and clowns/ I want to
run away and join the office
" Possibly the most fitting
measure of the greatness that Mike Doughty has achieved in his songwriting
prowess is the wonderfully melodic "I Hear The Bells". Based
on a simple drone, the song builds into one of the finest musical
moments of the record, complete with beautifully subtle female background
vocals. Lyrically the song shines with such lines as, "You snooze
you lose/ well I have snost and lost
", proving that Doughty
is by no means afraid of twisting the English language to suit his
lyrical needs and create verbage of the highest order.
And after all, isn't that what set William Shakespeare apart
from all of his contemporaries?
1. Looking At The World From The Bottom Of A Well
2. Unsingable Name
3. Madeline And Nine
4. Busting Up A Starbucks
5. White Lexus
6. American Car
7. Tremendous Brunettes
8. I Hear The Bells
9. Sunken-Eyed Girl
10. Grey Ghost
11. His Truth Is Marching On
12. Your Misfortune
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