Album: Golden Smog <!-- none onestar twostar fourstar fivestar -->

Another Fine Day, LOST HIGHWAY
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The Independent Culture

It's been eight years since the "alt.country supergroup" Golden Smog last convened for an album, but that's the way it is when such side-projects have to be fitted in around the work schedules of The Jayhawks, Wilco, Soul Asylum, Run Westy Run and the re-formed Big Star. The big surprise, then, is how well it works on Another Fine Day, where the group's songs bring to mind a range of melodic AOR influences from Crowded House ("Listen Joe") and The Cars ("Corvette", appropriately) to The Beatles: "5-22-02" has something of the swooning pop charm of George Harrison and a few touches of his slide-guitar sound, too. Recorded mostly in southern Spain, with extra parts added in Minneapolis, there's a relaxed assurance about the performances that allows them to find their own form, be it a chunky 1980s rocker like "Hurricane", a piano-led piece like "I Can", or a thoroughbred folk-rock number like "Cure for This", where the haunting female vocal blends beautifully with the backing harmonies and the twinkling banjo and guitar parts. Jeff Tweedy's taste for musique concrète, meanwhile, is evident in the patina of electronic noise pasted over several songs, adding a depth and interiority to otherwise sunny, extrovert material.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'You Make It Easy', 'Cure for This', '5-22-02'

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