Trying to sum up this Brooklyn-based band’s music is like water-skiing with Elvis Presley: impossible to do but interesting to contemplate. That’s because this second Soul Coughing release (following 1994’s Ruby Vroom) treks all over the musical map, never stopping at one sound for very long. There’s everything from pulsating hip hop (“Super Bon Bon”) to big-band jazz sampling (“Disseminated”) to discordant heavy metal stomp (“Paint”). It’s kind of nice for a change not knowing where the next song is going to take you.
As offbeat and entertaining as this musical mélange is, M. Doughty’s atonal, sing-speak vocals and disjointed lyrics spin it into another dimension. Picture a beat poet’s rant after one too many cups of Java, and you get the idea (“When all the limbs are numb and clean/And you’re in transit dream to dream/ Well, I’ll drift there to meet you/Lazybones”). The joy in Irresistible Bliss lies in Doughty’s willingness to experiment with any musical or lyrical thoughts that pop into his head. Some work, some don’t. But this is one CD you won’t forget, even if you can’t describe what it is you’ve just heard. (Slash/Warner Bros.)