El Oso (Warner Bros.), the third release from the quartet that was spawned by the gutters of the New York underground, is Soul Coughing’s best album to date.
Soul Coughing has taken off in every direction except a predictable one. On the band’s latest album, the styles that made the previous albums successful resonate. M. Doughty’s characteristic voice and intense poetic lyrics have not changed. The complicated instrumental arrangements also remain, but a new dimension has been added to the music. El Oso explores the dark world of jungle, the electronic music form sweeping the nation’s club scene thanks to artists such as Roni Size and Goldie.
“Super Bon Bon” earned the attention and appreciation of many listeners. The radio-friendly track from the band’s sophomore album Irresistible Bliss grabbed listeners with its catchy saying, “move upside and let the man go through.” But if “Super Bon Bon” was not addictive enough, wait until El Oso‘s opening track hits the airwaves. “Rolling” is an explosion of energy that demands dancing.
The first single from El Oso, “Circles” widely appeals to the generic music masses. But it sounds frightfully like something Dave Matthews would sing. Soul Coughing collaborated with drum and bass master Optical on “Blame” and “The Incumbent.” These songs are by far the most jungle influenced tunes, a style that suits the band well.
Soul Coughing recently played to a sold out crowd at the 9:30 Club. With Sebastian Steinberg on an upright bass, Mark De Gli Antoni on keyboard, Yuval Gabay on drums and percussion, and M. Doughty on guitar and vocals, the band is as animated physically as it is audibly.
Soul Coughing is definitely a band to become acquainted with on an off-radio level. El Oso already is topping charts, hitting No. 1 on college radio and rising on the mainstream level as well.