Mike Doughty’s experimenting produces varied results

Kelly Petryszyn

Credit: DKS Editors

Mike Doughty

Golden Delicious

Released by ATO Records

Stater rating (out of five): ** 1/2

The name Mike Doughty may sound unfamiliar. He has been on the scene for some time but did not get his start until he was signed by Dave Matthews. His music can be comparable to Matthews but is more off-kilter and melodic.

Doughty’s latest album, Golden Delicious, has a distinct sound. The album blends a wide array of rhythms together with his deep vocals to form interesting songs that make for easy listening.

Doughty’s aim to make a laid-back album that sounds like a bunch of guys sitting around and playing music for enjoyment accounts for the fusion of diverse beats throughout the album as well as the flowing lyrics. However, the impromptu nature of the album makes it both a hit and a miss.

The album starts off on the right track. The first song, “Fort Hood,” is about a Texas army base that lost the most troops in Iraq. This song has a feel-good tone that emanates hope. It repeats for a large part of the song the chorus from “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” from the 1960s musical Hair.

Golden Delicious offers up some upbeat anthems that make the album worthwhile. These include, “Put it Down,” “I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress,” and “Nectarine.” The songs emit a euphoric melody alongside relaxed lyrics. This makes each song very simple yet infectious.

The lyrics are average. A handful of the songs are filled with free flowing harmonizing, which gives a pleasant vibe to the music. However, the songs tend to have one line that repeats incessantly as the chorus. This is nice a few times, but too much repetition starts to get irritating. Also, the lyrics tend to rhyme and be nonsensical without meaning or correlation.

“More Bacon than the Pan Can Handle” took the experimental nature of Golden Delicious to the extreme, bordering on bizarre. The entire song repeats the title as peculiar tones and a spacey female vocalist fill the background. This song seems to lack any purpose.

Despite a few missteps and a lack in lyrical quality, the album gets it right with the melodies. Doughty’s band includes Andrew “Scrap” Livingston, drummer Pete McNeal, keyboardist John Kirby and bassist John Munson. Kirby adds interest with various beats on the keyboard such as tingling bells in “Like a Luminous Girl.” Together, the band creates a continuous flow of delightful melodies that carries on throughout the album.

This album just missed the mark. It has great potential but does not offer enough for a second listen.

Contact all reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].