Sad Man Happy Man
Mike Doughty engaged the production help of David Kahne (who'd produced parts of Soul Coughing’s Irresistible Bliss) for one track here, the Tom Waits/hipster-grooved “(You Should Be) Doubly (Gratified).” For the remainder of the album, Doughty produces alongside Pat Dillett, whose credits include David Byrne, St. Vincent, and They Might Be Giants. Together, they capture a more naturalistic tone than the processed pop of the excellent Haughty Melodic and Golden Delicious studio albums. The less structured and less carefully arranged tunes let Doughty veer toward stream-of-consciousness beatnik hip-hop, heard especially well on “Pleasure on Credit” and “(He’s Got The) Whole World (In His Hands).” Occasionally a larger production might drive a song harder, but there’s still plenty of energy to “(When I) Box the Days (Up),” even if the parenthetical titles can be a bit loopy. A cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Casper the Friendly Ghost” brings out the beauty in the outsider artist’s work without losing its quirky spark.