The Minus 5 is what keeps Scott McCaughey busy when he’s not working at his main gig with the Young Fresh Fellows or his side jobs with R.E.M. and Tuatara. With the spirit of open mic night, the Minus 5 feature a revolving cast of luminaries that includes Peter Buck, Jeff Tweedy, Kelly Hogan, Ken Stringfellow and John Wesley Harding.



"My Life as a Creep" comes together as a happy Beatles-like sing along while "With a Gun" has an early Dylan feel to it musically but with lyrics like, "I’ll kick your sister’s ass/I’m going to take your brother’s face and smash it in the grass." McCaughey’s lyrics are what make this such a fun listen; they’re often a bit wordy but always clever and never requiring an interpreter. The album’s highlight is a chilling channeling of the late Gram Parsons, "Cigarettes, Coffee and Booze."



Grade:B