Golden Smog

Record review

Phases & Stages

Golden Smog

Another Fine Day (Lost Highway)

When last we left Golden Smog (1998's Weird Tales), Soul Asylum was derailed by colossal misfire Let Your Dim Light Shine, Wilco was about to shed its rootsy cocoon with Summerteeth, and the Jayhawks were on temporary leave from dominating AAA playlists. Now the Jayhawks are no more, Soul Asylum lost bassist Karl Mueller to cancer in 2005, and Wilco is worshipped by every muso with bedhead and a four-track – including de facto GS frontman Kraig Johnson. The onetime Run Westy Run singer's contributions, most co-written with Jayhawk alum Gary Louris, dominate Another Fine Day and echo Yankee Hotel Foxtrot's formula of forlorn, bleary pop-rock sheathed in random amounts of ambient noise. Actual Wilco frontman and fellow Smogger Jeff Tweedy makes what amounts to a cameo in his own movie: background vocals and bittersweet, acoustic ballads "Long Time Ago" and "Listen Joe." Elsewhere, ex-'Hawk bassist Marc Perlman's "Cure for This" glistens with Sixties folk-pop dew, and SA guitarist Dan Murphy offers up that band's best song in a decade on "Hurricane." Although plucky, Another Fine Day never quite eclipses its members' better-known efforts. Then again, to quote the spirited refrain of their ELO-aping "Corvette," "The dream is never over."

***

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