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The Minus 5 

The Gun Album

The Minus 5
The Gun Album
(Yep Roc)
The Minus 5 is not really a band, per se. It is the brainchild of Fresh Young Fellows’ Scott McCaughey and usually features such luminaries as Jeff Tweedy (with and without Wilco), Peter Buck (with and without Mike Mills), Jon Auer of The Posies, Ken Stringfellow and scores of others. The music on each record reflects McCaughey’s projects as a whole. The listener can step from beautiful Revolver-era Beatles baroque pop and Pet Sounds-guided Brian Wilson to ‘80s jangle pop to some old-school punk to Americana in a matter of a few songs. Beginning in 1995 with Old Liquidator, The Minus 5 has been a critics’ darling, especially after 2003’s Down with Wilco. Projects as ambitious as The Gun Album and its predecessors usually wallow in artistic decadence to a vulgar degree, but with the use of outside collaborators McCaughey keeps the sounds interesting. Moving through the American soundscape of virtually the last 40 years seems to have become a specialty for this roving collective. Though these sounds are utilized individually, giving each track a singular idea, there is cohesion to the disc. It works well due to great songcraft from the collaborators. This time around Tweedy and Wilco are on board as is Stringfellow, Auer and Buck, along with indie folk icon John Wesley Harding. Such genre skipping may not work for all, but those with an open mind will be greatly rewarded.
—Trevor MacLaren
categories: Coast pick

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