From 1988 to 2005, Callahan went by the name Smog (a very unromantic moniker, mind you) while helping define lo-fi folk, a sound that's great for miserable twerps communicating naked introversion, but wholly inappropriate when "A Man Needs a Woman or a Man to Be a Man," the title of Whaleheart's closing tune. Where Callahan's basso profundo once skated around the rim of a psychic black hole, it now sounds like the voice of a bard puffing out his chest the best he can, drunkenly hopping from word to word, even asking listeners on the tune "Day" to "Please strive towards the light."
Naturally, it's all a bit hokey -- like Dylan's greatest love song. And with co-producer Neil Michael Hagerty's gospel-infused arrangements swirling around him, Callahan even plays the fool at times. But why not? The guy totally scored.