Fans who have been looking for Mike Doughty to slowly work his way back to a style similar to that of his 2001 debut Skittish will undoubtedly be somewhat disappointed by Golden Delicious. In this, his fourth solo record since leaving his role as the creative center of Soul Coughing at the turn of the century, Doughty takes the next steps in the natural progression for an artist who owes his personal success to the emergence of digital music as a format. Produced by a post-Grammy, post-Rick Rubin-tutelage Dan Wilson, Golden Delicious marks the natural evolution of an acoustic singer-songwriter who feeds in the modern era. Despite the changes in musical context, true Doughty fans will recognize the patented phraseology of their indie hero, from the sing-along pop of "Put It Down," to the visceral darkness of betrayal in "I Got the Drop on You," and the floating electronic influences underlying "Navigating By the Stars at Night."
At the same time, the updated packaging makes the familiar gravel that much more accessible to an aboveground audience in much the way that 2004's Haughty Melodic has. Not everyone can have the best of both worlds—then and now—but Mike Doughty definitively straddles the line.
MIKE DOUGHTY performs SATURDAY, MARCH 22, and SUNDAY, MARCH 23, at FIRST AVENUE; 612.332.1775
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