Yes And Also Yes
In his days as songwriter and singer for Soul Coughing Mike Doughty spat out rapid-fire ironic screeds and goofy rhymes that raced on idiosyncratic rhythms and big beats. To be fair the erudite singer was also a junky during the heady days of the 1990’s and despite the fact that Soul Coughing sold more records and pulled larger audiences, Doughty as a solo artist is creating stronger work and, as Doughty has stated, is more successful in his present incarnation.
Yes And Also Yes is Doughty’s 4th full-length release and could be called his first “band” record since Soul Coughing called it quits in 2000. Six other musicians join him on the recording. Overseeing the project is producer Pat Dillett, who has worked with artists as diverse as Mariah Carey, David Byrne, and Placido Domingo. The album was recorded for Doughty’s own label, Snack Bar, allowing Doughty creative oversight.
Despite being more settled in his life and music Doughty hasn’t lost his eccentric sensibilities as on the first track and single “Na Na Nothing," a bitter kiss-off to a cheating lover. There isn’t anything unusual about the music which features piano, guitar, and electronic beats. What does stand out is Doughty’s additional choice of instrument - a duloxetine 60mg capsule. Duloxetine is marketed as Cymbalta and is an anti-depressant. Doughty shakes the tiny capsule into a particularly sensitive microphone so listen carefully for the tiny clink, clink as Doughty sings “Shun the pill poppers/love the pharmacist.” (The happy pill pops up on several other tracks).
Most of the songs on Yes And Also Yes are of the high energy mode. “Into the Un” is reminiscent of Soul Coughing’s best melodies and is all Doughty with programmed beats and acoustic guitar. Once again, you’ll recognize the Soul Coughing persona in Doughty’s vocals on “Day By Day,” albeit slowed down. “Holiday” is Doughty’s first holiday song and features a duet with Rosanne Cash. It’s a smart pairing as both are sworn New Yorkers, smart songwriters, and their voices play nicely off each other. It’s the kind of holiday song that works at anytime of year. Four tracks race by in under two minutes including “Makelloser Mann” Doughty first song written in German. “Huffers and Cutter’s” captures the relationship between two dysfunctional people and features a screechy violin. “Telegenic Execs #1 (Hapless Dancers)” and “Telegenic Execs #2 (Astoria)" are connected by a common riff and lyrical content.
Doughty is a busy man; later this month he will release Dubious Luxury an electronic album. In January he will release his memoir “The Book of Drugs.” Doughty says it is about “drugs, music, debauchery, redemption.”