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Killingsworth

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Reseña de álbum

Scott McCaughey is a man who has worn plenty of musical hats over the years, but he has a funny way of bringing his own personality to whatever project he's working on, even as his collaborators lend their distinct colors to the music. The eighth album from McCaughey's the Minus 5 is a fine example; for Killingsworth, McCaughey and his usual musical partner, Peter Buck, are joined by several members of the Decemberists, and when McCaughey's smart, slightly bent pop sensibilities meet Colin Meloy's arty grand-scale folk-rock, you get a curious but thoroughly compelling country rock album that sounds casual and epochal at once. McCaughey has brought a more somber set of tunes to this project than one might expect, and while there's an undercurrent of whimsy lurking in songs like "Vintage Violent," "Smoke On, Jerry," and "Scott Walker's Fault," the fiddles, steel guitar, and accordions that pepper the arrangements bring the sad side of these melodies to the surface, and the harmonies of the She Bee Gees walk a fine line between somber and playful. "Big Beat Up Moon" and "Dark Hand of Contagion" are sad songs that speak to a world full of sad people, while "It Won't Do You Any Good" and "The Long Hall" hold out little that things will improve anytime soon, but McCaughey's songs speak of a messed-up planet where we're all in it together, and that with a little compassion (and some cold beer), we can help carry one another's burdens. Killingsworth is an album a bit short on optimism, but there's a cock-eyed hope in the sweet sadness of this music, and for a guy who used to make like the class clown of the Pacific Northwest, Scott McCaughey shows again he's matured into one of the strongest and most distinctive songwriters of his generation. These 14 songs conjure up a musical vision that's very much his own, despite the A-list help backing him up.

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Scott McCaughey indulges his Ray Davies jones

After the Beatle-esque pop of 2007’s The Minus 5, this Scott McCaughey-led collective returns with a new lineup and a twangier country-rock sound. McCaughey and companion Peter Buck are back, alongside Colin Meloy, additional members of the Decemberists and other guests. As on all of the collective’s albums, McCaughey’s vocals and songs provide the binding component, the latter of which include a healthy dose of downbeat, troubled and troubling themes. Pedal steel, banjo and general melancholy make a straightforward match to the lyrical tenor, with McCaughey sounding remarkably like Ray Davies in his mid-period Kinks prime – in both nasal vocal tone and social content. The album opens with the bitter remains of a failed courtship and closes with the despondent misery of a troubled and broke bar fly. In between McCaughey offers the sort of opaque lyrics he’s written regularly for both the Minus Five and the Young Fresh Fellows. His titles and lyrics intimate deeper personal meanings, but they’re not always easily revealed. He resurfaces for a portrait of the working musician’s nightmare, “The Lurking Barrister,” he eyes unsparing isolation and social decay in “Big Beat Up Moon” and excoriates fundamentalism with “I Would Rather Sacrifice You.” The Kinks vibe is strong on “Vintage Violet,” with the She Bee Gees singing along as a girl-group Greek chorus. McCaughey’s used the ever-shifting membership of the Minus Five to give each of the “band’s” releases a distinct flavor. In contrast, the parallel release by the Young Fresh Fellows, I Think This Is, has to work to recapture the group’s vibe. McCaughey’s jokey, ironic and sometimes startlingly penetrating songs support both bands, but the free hand of perpetual reinvention gives an edge to the Minus Five. Without having to hit a specific musical or emotional tone, the Minus Five indulges whatever is currently running around McCaughey’s head. This year it seems to be (among other things) Muswell Hillbillies. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

Biografía

Fecha de formación: Seattle, WA, 1993

Género: Rock

Años de actividad: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Minus 5 began life as a side project of the Young Fresh Fellows' Scott McCaughey, who formed the band in 1993. McCaughey designed the Minus 5 as a pop collective, and each record the group released featured a new lineup. Throughout these releases, he worked the most frequently with R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, who was featured on the group's eponymous debut EP, which was only released through They Might Be Giants' mail-order record club, Hello Records. By the time they recorded their full-length debut...
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Killingsworth, The Minus 5
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