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The Minus 5

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Album Review

Nicknamed "the gun album" (because a firearm appears on the album's cover and pops up in the lyrics of several of the songs), 2006's The Minus 5 finds Scott McCaughey indulging his passion for British Invasion-era pop stuff (not an uncommon development), with an all-semi-star collection of friends and collaborators helping to put it on tape, including Peter Buck, Jeff Tweedy, Colin Meloy, John Wesley Harding, Ken Stringfellow, Kelly Hogan, and even Morgan Fisher (yeah, the one who was in Mott the Hoople). Despite the wide range of high-priced help (collectively called The Minus 5) McCaughey's songs are the star attraction here, and as usual, the man is one of the underappreciated geniuses of pop songwriting. However, "the gun album" logs in a bit less wit and a little less playfulness than you've come to expect from the former Young Fresh Fellow; while "Aw S**t Man" is good frantic fun and "With a Gun" has a melody to die for, "Rifle Called Goodbye," "Cemetery Row," and "My Life as a Creep" graft a moody undertow to McCaughey's melodic structures, which fare well with the more downbeat tone of the lyrics, which often turn to dashed hopes and indecision. There's also a high-lonesome country accent to "Cigs Coffee Booze" and "Bought a Rope," which hardly breaks the record's mood. But if this is the relatively bummed-out Minus 5 album, it's still full of great songs played with genuine enthusiasm and imagination, and it says a lot about Scott McCaughey that even when the fates have him down, he still bubbles over with life and great music. Let that be a lesson to us all.

Customer Reviews

"I had six white Russians tonight, and two of them were people."

If you're new to the Minus 5 or a long time fan this album is a well crafted and accessable piece of work.

Download Cemetary Row - All else, Average

Cemetary Row is one of the best songs I've heard in a long time, So I downloaded the whole album. It is not horrible but its very boring. Not one other song is as catchy as CR and I am a disappointed at that; nor is it a horrible album. It's so-so, and I would not recommend downloading it. An album worth downloading should be laid out with tracks like CR. Again, download CR but forget the rest.

Relevant. Fun. Light.

For fans of R.E.M. (of course, with P. Buck and all, duh!). And, Wilco...sorta like XTC...a bit Golden Smoggy, even Jayhawky at times. Aw,'s like taking the remains of what's left on the table at closing time, pouring it into a cup and drinking it all down...and it tastes good! Nicely done boys.


Formed: 1993 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '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...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by The Minus 5

The Minus 5, The Minus 5
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