mike doughty — yes and also yes

mike doughty @ the arts center

When I was getting ready to listen to Yes And Also Yes, my buddy Rusty told me that it felt like a Soul Coughing album. He didn’t say it in a bad way, or a condemnation, or a I-preferred-that. It was just a statement; we went on to discuss how righteous Haughty Melodic is, how it’s a perfect gem of an album, and I listened to Yes and Also Yes on repeat for a whole day.

And it does feel like a Soul Coughing album; it has a groove to it, and that hint of electronic edge that I think of Soul Coughing trademarks. Even and especially, probably, “Day By Day By”, which starts with a beat that I had to double-take to make sure it wasn’t just a new version of “Circles” (not a complaint, that’s my favorite Soul Coughing song). It deviates after that, but that is how this album feels, in the best way: an album where “Circles” wouldn’t be out of place, not remotely. It’s slinky and groovetastic and jamming, and it’s all hallmarked by Doughty’s now-polished and lovely style of lyricism, post-SC: a little strange, a little incomprehensible, and somehow always resonant and sad and hopeful.

And “Holiday (What Do You Want)” sounds as much like something off Haughty as “Day By Day By” sounds like El Oso; the whole album is a neat fusion of the sounds Doughty’s tried, mastered, failed at. It’s a quiet and thoughtful sort of album, full of surprising moments, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays with a full band, because even the happy catchy songs, like album opener “Na Na Nothing”, have a sort of internal focus to them. “Strike the Motion” takes that deeply; the verses are minor and fierce and dark, and the chorus, which feels like it should be darker and fiercer, shifts into a bright and almost hopeful sort of thing, even with its shivery lyrics.

I like the slightly darker feel of this album, the strange and occasionally frightening lyrics paired with catchy music and driving, swinging beats; “Have At It” with its short, sweet and to the point groove, and “Makelloser Man” and its German lyrics and bouncing keyboards and danceable beat. It’s an album for fall, an album of reclaiming, an album of pushing boundaries backwards as well as forwards. An album for dark mornings and early evenings, for the warmth of lights inside and the cool of fall evenings. And it grooves the whole time. I can’t think of a better compliment: Yes and Also Yes grooves me into the headspace where I want someone to tell dark secrets to, tucked into a warm bed with a single light spilling a circle onto our shoulders and hands.

Doughty plays the Cradle with his Band Fantastic tonight, October 25, at 8PM. Moon Hooch opens, doors are at 7. Tickets are $16 in advance (that means before 5PM today!) and $18 at the door. Doughty with a band is always amazing; Doughty is always amazing. Do it, folks.

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