Personnel: Andrew "Scrap" Livingston, Andy Livingston (cello).
On 2009's SAD MAN HAPPY MAN, Mike Doughty returns to the acoustic folk of his well-received solo debut, a pared down version of his `90s band Soul Coughing's funk-infused, downtown jazz embracing indie rock. Half Brooklyn hipster aging delightfully gracelessly, half pre-electric Dylan, Doughty muses over lost loves and lusts, throws in odd references and abstract couplets, and crafts bohemian characters past, present, and future. Doughty's the master of his own brand of half-Beat mantra half-rap, and he doesn't take long to return to the repetition well. By second track, "(I Keep On) Rising Up," he's skipping lyrical grooves and on the next track, "(You Should Be) Doubly (Gratified)," he's practically in his usual scat trance; it's predictable, but oh so comfortable, and his prose poetry loses no substance during all the verbal substance. He switches tacks effortlessly, dropping a straight-forward Ani Difranco-esque modern folk ballad on "(I Want To) Burn (You Down)," before returning to the underground hip-hop off-beat vigor of "Pleasure on Credit," and closes (fittingly) on a Daniel Johnston cover. It's a thoroughly fun and gleefully disorienting effort from one of the alternative era's truly unique pop artists.