Mike Doughty has the distinction of being the lead singer for one of the most delightfully strange bands in the last decade. The band is Soul Coughing and while maybe strange isn't the right word, they were certainly difficult to categorize. This effort from Mike Doughty is a little easier to classify.
There are shades of Soul Coughing, especially with the horns in "Busting Up a Starbucks" and the intro of "I Hear the Bells" which reminds me of "Lazybones" from the Irresistible Bliss album. Also, Mike Doughty still brings the stream-of-consciousness lyrics that were a trademark of Soul Coughing.
For the most part, these are straightforward, largely acoustic, and incredibly catchy songs. The album kicks off with "Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well." This is a playback song. I listened to this one several times in a row because it's so catchy. It's one of those songs that you might want to sing throughout the day. "Sunken-Eyed Girl" is another very catchy song that could easily get lodged in your brain.
Every song on this album is solid, but a couple deserve special mention. "Busting Up a Starbucks" scored big points with me because, I am almost loathe to admit, I was actually a part of that evil empire at one point in my life. I think I am not the only one who imagined a Starbucks being busted up. Not that I advocate it, mind you.
"Tremendous Brunettes" is a pretty good song featuring Dave Matthews. Somehow, I like Dave Matthews a lot better when he's apart from his band. Finally, I have to say something about "American Car." This song includes some of the sly wit at which Mike Doughty is particularly adept. There are two lines in "American Car that I find brilliant. He sings "I'm done with elephants and clowns. I want to run away to join the office." Who else is going to give you lyrics like that?
Top to bottom, this is a very solid album. There are no throwaways. More than that though, this is an album that I could put on repeat and listen to for hours. It's safe to assume this will be in my heavy rotation for a while.