Golden Smog introduces their fans to the "post-Jeff Tweedy era" on this eight-song EP, the first release from the semi-supergroup to not feature the Wilco frontman as part of the lineup since 1995's Down by the Old Mainstream. Given Tweedy's minimal participation on the 2006 album Another Fine Day, his absence shouldn't come as a tremendous surprise, and this EP follows a creative lead similar to the album, dominated by smart but gently sloppy melodic structures and vocals that wobble back and forth between heartfelt and purposefully goofy. (Two of the songs here, "Can't Even Tie Your Own Shoes" and "Look at You Now," are leftovers from the sessions for Another Fine Day, so it's no wonder some of the approach rubbed off.) A few numbers, like the keyboard-dominated "Magician" and the shambolic punk pastiche closer, "Insecure," sound as if they were tossed off for laughs, and two covers pad out the running time, but "Without a Struggle" is a splendid new song buoyed by Gary Louris' vocals and "Scotch on Ice" sounds like a rough draft for another fine number if these guys ever buff off the rough edges. With the future seemingly hazy for both the Jayhawks and Soul Asylum (whose members dominate Golden Smog at the moment), Blood on the Slacks' pearly moments suggest these guys might be saving some of their top-shelf ideas for this band for a change, even if they didn't spend a lot of time sweating over the finished product.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming