Few bands are as criminally overlooked as Soul Coughing, but in their short career they managed to craft some brilliantly fractured pop that went sadly unnoticed by mainstream listeners. Paving the way for like-minded bands like Cake and the Bloodhound Gang, Soul Coughing was the beat poetry antidote to the heavy-handed grunge that was clogging the airwaves when they first arrived in 1994. The six tracks from their first album are some of the best songs in the band's canon, showing what an impressive impact they made with a simple formula. Samples from old 78s, Warner Bros. cartoons, and answering machines created a moody backdrop for the jazzy rhythm section and M. Doughty's cigarette-scarred croon, resulting in charming gems like "True Dreams of Wichita." Featuring their biggest single ("Super Bon Bon"), the tracks from Irresistible Bliss are marked by a maturity in their songwriting and much broader soundscapes crafted by the band. The beautiful "Idiot Kings" receives its much-deserved place among the more popular tracks, although leaving off "Soft Serve" is ridiculous when a useless B-side like the Propellerheads' remix of "Super Bon Bon" makes the cut. The very best tracks from their final release, El Oso, are represented in possibly the best track picks on the whole album. Sonically experimental and bordering on electronica at times, these songs show a maturity that was sadly cut short by the demise of the band. A few key tracks are missing ("Is Chicago Not Chicago" is inexplicably left off) and the B-sides are mostly filler (with the exception of the gorgeous "Unmarked Helicopters"), making for a few complaints from longtime fans. But to anyone looking to discover the sound of Soul Coughing, there is no better source than Lust in Phaze, an album that manages to capture the band's hipster charm and cool soundscapes while also featuring the variety of material they were capable of.
Lust in Phaze: The Best of Soul Coughing Review
by Bradley Torreano