Music » CD Reviews

The Minus 5; The Young Fresh Fellows

Let the War Against Music Begin (Mammoth); Because We Hate You (Mammoth)

by

comment
39050.0.jpeg
Scott McCaughey's been one busy guy lately. The sometime-R.E.M. sideman, music journalist, and dedicated indie music supporter recently recorded not one, but two new albums with his full-time bands the Minus 5 and the Young Fresh Fellows. Bundled together as a two-disc set, the 5's Let the War Against Music Begin and the Fellows' Because We Hate You pretty much fall together as one piece, with some variations between them. The Minus 5 set is the more musically adventurous and ambitious of the two. It also includes a long list of featured players (unlike the steady quartet setting of the Fellows, the Minus 5 has a revolving line-up). Peter Buck (R.E.M.), Ken Stringfellow (the Posies), Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees), Jason Finn (Presidents of the USA), Jon Auer (the Posies), Dennis Diken (Smithereens), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), and Robyn Hitchcock all make notable contributions to Let the War Against Music Begin.

Because We Hate You is the more pop-oriented of the two, thereby making it the more satisfying disc. McCaughey's forte is pop -- he's an indie-knighted vet with a winning gift for writing songs with killer hooks. And without having to make room for more than a dozen players, the modest-sized group targets the actual songs, rather than the style of the songs. Both albums ultimately wander, but with 26 songs between them (including a revved-up cover of "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight" on the Fellows half), there's at least one strong record here.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.