Quirky songwriter Mike Doughty (formerly the frontman of Soul Coughing) has carved out a name for himself as a solo artist. The Flip Is Another Honey finds Doughty paying homage to other artists on a covers album full of gems.
Doughtys work is often criticized for sticking to a single sound (think indie rock guitar, bourbon-smooth vocals, lots of religious and drug imagery). The Flip gives Doughty a chance to branch out, and he takes it, producing much of the music himself and sounding comfortable in a variety of contexts.
The styles here range wide, from a delightfully schizoid rendition of Guys and Dolls Sit Down, Youre Rocking the Boat to the effortless smooth, addictive update of Camilles Ta Douleur. Even non-French speakers will be drawn in by the bend of Doughtys distinctive vocals. Opener Sunshine is as warm as its namesake, as Doughty raps over John Denver samples, including the impressive lyric macking chi, like a Maccabee.
The Flip isnt a flawless effort; Boy + Angel and a few others lack punch. But updates to tracks like Cheap Tricks Southern Girls and Thin Lizzys Running Back shine. The former, in particular, is enhanced by Doughtys cover, the vocals warmer and more plaintive in his rounded drawl.
Doughtys sheer enthusiasm is evident in small details, like the heartbreakingly gentle guitar line of A Fanfare (Not Superman), a brief 28 seconds before bass and percussion swell into the hip Jimmy Bell. Doughtys raw scream on Sit Down is the passion of a man who loves his work. The Flip Is Another Honey indeed.
Essential Tracks: Ta Douleur, Southern Girls