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Mike Doughty
Haughty Melodic
ATO Records

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?

-David DeVoe

Track Listing:
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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