Mike Doughty

Haughty Melodic (ATO)

ACL Music Festival Reviews

Mike Doughty

Haughty Melodic (ATO)

Who knew that under the layers of trip-hop and art-rock of his old band, former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty really wanted to be Dave Matthews? It helps to be on Matthews' own imprint, have him guest on one of the album's best songs ("Tremendous Brunettes"), and even open a few dates on Doughty's tour. Nevertheless, Haughty Melodic isn't the "extreme makeover" that his sarcastic folkie fans always knew Doughty could become. It's with sublime observation that Doughty composes postmodern anthems like "Busting Up a Starbucks," with shout-outs to people like James Van Der Beek and "those sisters from Sister, Sister." Yet the album isn't all fun and games, thanks to sincere confessionals such as the irresistible single "Looking at the World From the Bottom of a Well." This newfound solo career projects Doughty's talent for composing and crooning a pop hook, predictable for a man who was always the most mainstream in his band of experimental eccentrics. While "I Hear the Bells" is solid pop, "Unsingable Name" is one of the few tracks that could benefit from less soul and more coughing. (Saturday, 1:30pm, Heineken stage)

***

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