Mike Doughty, Yes and Also Yes (SNACK BAR Records, 2011)

The appealingly enigmatic Mike Doughty cranks out albums at a fairly steady clip.  This can be a mixed blessing, of course, as his output is notoriously uneven.  Then again, if he wasn't at least interesting, I wouldn't keep checking in on his latest efforts. His new album Yes and Also Yes, released this past summer, is a tad more upbeat and plugged in than his usual work. Once again, though, Doughty manages to be both compelling and confounding.

Doughty generally has a very distinctive style of folk rock, driven primarily by his acoustic guitar.  About half of Yes and Also Yes follows that style, but Doughty goes electric on a few songs and adds some programming as well, most obviously on "The Huffer and the Cutter."  As usual, though, whether or not you like Yes and Also Yes depends on how much you like Doughty's stream of consciousness lyrics and can tolerate the inconsistency that often comes with it.  Sometimes the surrealism works brilliantly, like on the punkishly short "Have At It."  Other times, like on "Makelosa Mann," you're left shaking your head.  Overall, there's a healthy amount of quality here.  "Na Na Nothing" is a solid opener, "Holiday (What Do You Want?)" is a very nice duet with Roseanne Cash, and "Weird Summer" is a prescient look at the political attitude currently gripping Doughty's adopted home of New York City.

He's up, he's down, and he's equal parts impressive and frustrating, but Mike Doughty is never dull.  Like most of his other albums, Yes and Also Yes hits the mark often enough to justify a few listens.

Overall grade: B

reviewed by Scott

"Na Na Nothing"

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