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The Minus 5 | At The Organ (Yep Roc)
In the last instalment of CWAS I pondered the absence of material from Scott McCaughey in the last six months. Well, he's back and he's got the Minus 5 with him. There's only seven songs and a video here, but Scott's a busy man, even if the sleeve notes indicate his demise. Wilco provide most of the band for this affair, following on from the 'Down With Wilco' album and they romp through (I've Got A) Lyrical Stance with little respect for the songwriting mastery contained within and then head straight into Hotel Senator at a slightly abated pace, skipping through the jaunty chorus with glee. The line-up may change with each M5 record (and even each song), but the fun is a constant throughout - along with darn fine playing. Rebecca Gates pops in to lend her voice to one song and there's a reworking of the classic The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply, stripped down to a rock band style. The sleeve notes tells us that the original version of 'The Days Of Wine And Booze' was recorded on "a very bad day", which may well worry many bands who'd be hard pushed to come up with anything nearly as good given a huge record company advance and much studio trickery. One More Bottle To Go clomps away drunkenly and brings another edition of the M5 series to a close with a bang. The bonus video contains a real shock as you get to see Scott sans glasses, a rare event indeed. The only thing encountered less often is a bad McGaughey record and there's still no sign of that.

Laurence Arnold
February-April 2005