Mike Doughty: Circles Super Bon Bon… – album review

Mike Doughty – Circles Super Bon Bon Sleepless How Many Cans? True Dreams of Wichita Monster Man Mr. Bitterness Maybe I’ll Come Down St. Louise Is Listening I Miss the Girl Unmarked Helicopters The Idiot Kings So Far I Have Not Found the Science (Snack Bar / Hornblow Recordings).

CD and DL

Release Date: Out Now


Ex Soul Coughing man Mike Doughty has gone back to his old band’s material to reimagine it for the present day. Simon Tucker checks out the results.

Mike Doughty‘s new work is fanbase funded via PledgeMusic.com, the songs on the album are now, as the accompanying press release states, “as I meant them to be when I wrote them” and have a fuller sound incorporating more of the textures and rhythms of techno, drum and bass, and big beat music. However, don’t go expecting some Ram Records slammer, Kompakt trance-out, or Chemical Brothers fist-pump dancefloor monster. The songs are, basically, the same but with little flourishes of the aforementioned genres.

Sleepless… doesn’t really feel like a modern album at all. In fact, it still resembles the period in the nineties when the original songs were released. Remember when the charts were full of Fun Lovin Criminals, Sixpence None The Richer, and *shudder* New Radicals? Tracks like Super Bon Bon and The Idiot Kings have gained no new relevance or innovation in this new guise with some sub-par Check Your Head-era Beastie Boys riffing and Finley Quaye alt-soul.


There are some little pockets within the songs that give you hope like the two step shuffle and double bass playing (by Catherine Popper) on Sleepless and the down and out funk of Mr. Bitterness but these are marred by tracks like Monster Man and Maybe I’ll Come Down which you expect Kid Rock to appear on any minute (the latter) and make you dive for your Eels records (the former).

Good Goose’s production on the album is good and the layers of vocal samples and of barking dogs add some depth to the album and giving the ears at least a little something to grab onto and investigate.

There’s no doubt that this album will please the already converted (the fact that the funding goal was reached within sixteen hours of launching says that Mike has a very loyal and broad audience) and fans of that time in musical history. Unfortunately, those looking for an up to date album with a writer rediscovering the muse that served them well in the past may be disappointed.


Mike’s website can be found here: mikedoughty.com. He’a also on Twitter as @Mike_Doughty_ and Facebook.

For more of Simon’s writings for Louder Than War click here or find him on Twitter here: @simontucker1979.

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Raised by music obsessive parents on a diet of Ska, Bowie, Queen… and the Bay City Rollers. Discovered dance music and heavy metal at the same time making for a strange brew of taste. I do this for the love of an art form which welcomes all types and speaks to us all. Find me on twitter @simontucker1979.


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