The Minus 5

I Don't Know Who I Am (Let the War Against Music Begin, Vol. 2)

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Although Scott McCaughey pays his bills as a loyal R.E.M. sideman, the longtime Young Fresh Fellows frontman's Minus 5 project has allowed him to explore his fundamental pop/rock leanings with colleague Peter Buck on albums like 2001's acclaimed Let the War Against Music Begin. Recorded in tandem with that set, I Don't Know Who I Am -- a limited-edition disc reportedly restricted to a pressing of just 2,000 copies -- is far darker and more experimental, as evidenced by the set launcher, "There Is No Music." Meshing a slide guitar with a brooding lo-fi feel, the song's alt-country leanings uneasily shift into the electronic-tinged "Myrna Loy." While there are contagious moments like "Rooting for the Plague" and the profane singalong "I Don't Want to Fuck Off Anymore," tunes like the heady "Disaster Nurse Fang" and "Dear Employer" (which is recycled but drastically stripped-down from its appearance on 2003's Down With Wilco and again boasts Jeff Tweedy) are as off-kilter as these alternative pop luminaries are likely to get. I Don't Know Who I Am may not be the Minus 5 disc fans rely on most of the time, but there's more than just completist filler here. Just check the chiming, Beatlesque brilliance of "Queen's Head" for further proof.

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