Scott McCaughey / The Minus 5

My Chartreuse Opinion

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Originally released as a Scott McCaughey solo album, My Chartreuse Opinion is an endearing album that could get by on charm alone. Fitted with little studio wizardry, McCaughey and his loyal band of helpers craft what comes across like an indie version R.E.M. as filtered through the Soft Boys. McCaughey utilizes his whiny, chirping voice, tiny arrangements, and a cross section of postmodern musical styles to present 14 conforming, yet nonconformist songs that ask for little more from a listener than a smile and a tapping foot. Whether he's reflecting like a post-rock John Lennon on "A Sobering Thought," affecting a doo wop persona on "Shut Them Out," perfecting psych-out-style pop on "Sittin' Round Doin' Nothin," or pasting on a mild country swagger on "Roller Coaster Blues," McCaughey is never less than pleasantly engaging. Sloppy production, courtesy of McCaughey himself and Conrad Uno, sets just the right tone for these shambolic, rollicking tunes. Though My Chartreuse Opinion might seem to be a wimpy, naïve indie rock release, there's enough tender charm underneath the album's rough exterior that each future listen doles out new pleasures and hidden complexities. While it's not McCaughey's strongest achievement, My Chartreuse Opinion is a joyful, minor album of songs that are just a step away from being gems.

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