Mike Doughty releases his new album Yes And Also Yes on February 13th. Previously front man of Soul Coughing, he has also written a brutally honest and unflinching autobiography that catalogues the utterly dysfunctional nature of his band and his own descent into full-on drug addiction.
The album is his fourth as a solo artist and it is immediately apparent that the man’s scalpel sharp lyricism and wordplay have not deserted him – just listen to the opening lines of first track and single Na Na Nothing below. While a playfulness is undoubtedly evident throughout the album, and sometimes this almost spills over into frivolity especially in some of the shorter tracks (four clock in at under two minutes), it would be wrong to pigeonhole this as a happy album. In truth if you examine a little more closely, this surface joy is often only a flimsy mask for some of the darker, more disturbing thoughts and self-doubt at work elsewhere on the record.
What is clear is that inspiration and imagination is never in short supply on this record, whether it be in the sardonic lyrics, the restless instrumentation that alternates between the uptempo and the understated, or the shift between introspection and experimentation. It has a feel and style to it that calls to mind some of our very favourite songwriters – Eels, Vic Chesnutt and Sparklehorse.
I have to confess though that this is our first proper introduction to Mike Doughty – a clear case of better late than never. We have us a back catalogue to go get acquainted with.
Watch and / or listen to Na Na Nothing below.
You can also read a superb extract from his autobiography, The Book Of Drugs here at The Arts Desk.Follow @madmackerel