Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Soul Coughing: New York, NY 16-08-99 [Kufala, 2004]
It's just as well NYC's Soul Coughing went over-and-out after three albums in 2000. Though Mike Doughty was sharper and funnier than Morphine's Mark Sandman or the Eels' Mark Oliver Everett, in the end all three were hipsters putting the beat in beat poetry, an m.o. that generally wears out no matter how ingenious the principals. But Soul Coughing were so loose and loud live that this board-tape double-CD does more than remind fans of better days. Keyboardist Mark de Gli Antoni sampled like a madman. Sebastian Steinberg got monster sound from a standup bass. Drummer Yuval Gabay's jazz chops felt the noise. And Doughty, well--wotta ham. "Power to the people--right on," he hopes sarcastically at the start. "Perhaps you would like to sing along like big jerks with me," he ventures fondly at the end. And in between he orates his songs so decisively it's like he loved them as much as the day they were born. [unknown: 3.5]