Album: Mark Mulcahy

In Pursuit of Your Happiness, LOOSE
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The Independent Culture

Like Mark Lanegan, the former Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy has overcome a fractured recording schedule - in his case, an unhelpful label's imposition of a two-year hiatus in effect froze his band out of existence - to establish a solo career. Since Smilesunset (2001), he's apparently co-written (with cartoonist Ben Katchor) and starred in two operas, the collaborative nature of which spills over into In Pursuit of Your Happiness, where friends, including Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis and the Pixies' Joey Santiago, help him to realise this batch of brooding, self-lacerating reflections, delivered in a cracked, tremulous tone. The settings favour the sombre timbres of cello, piano, organ and accordion. The title track sets the tone of disquieting dissatisfaction, its nod to narcotic temptation ("Taken more than you confess/ In pursuit of your happiness") carrying over into "Cookie Jar", where the languid rhythm guitar and organ are decorated by a poignant French horn break. His problem is

Like Mark Lanegan, the former Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy has overcome a fractured recording schedule - in his case, an unhelpful label's imposition of a two-year hiatus in effect froze his band out of existence - to establish a solo career. Since Smilesunset (2001), he's apparently co-written (with cartoonist Ben Katchor) and starred in two operas, the collaborative nature of which spills over into In Pursuit of Your Happiness, where friends, including Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis and the Pixies' Joey Santiago, help him to realise this batch of brooding, self-lacerating reflections, delivered in a cracked, tremulous tone. The settings favour the sombre timbres of cello, piano, organ and accordion. The title track sets the tone of disquieting dissatisfaction, its nod to narcotic temptation ("Taken more than you confess/ In pursuit of your happiness") carrying over into "Cookie Jar", where the languid rhythm guitar and organ are decorated by a poignant French horn break. His problem is crystallised in "I Have Patience": "The things I love don't bring me joy/ The things I want, I want to destroy". It's a tough conundrum, but then, as he notes in "4:04", "Mission unaccomplished/ 'Cos the best things happen in reclusion/ Leave us alone".

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