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Band: Soul Coughing
Album: El Oso
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1998
Reviewer: Fathead

       Have you ever bought an album that just made you feel cool? Soul Coughing's "El Oso" does just that. This NYC four piece has produced an album unparralled by anyone. Their random, futuristic jazz-hop will emidiately pull into its grasp, and not let go until your mind is twisted into a funk-knot.
        Soul Coughing's music is most definitely original. They combine hip-hoppish, jazzy drum beats and funky upright bass with obscure keyboards, random samples, and the occassional catchy guitar lick. The vocals are an instrument in themselves, spitting out complex scenerios that only make sense after the 500th listen. Doughty's voice resembles Dave Matthews' very closely, but his random raps and repetitive, almost senseless chrouses set him in a league of his own.
        The first song, "Rolling", gives an emidiate feel for the album, with a steady beat and spooky background keyboards, while Doughty repeats over an over again, "I'm Rollin', I'm Rollin'."
        "Cirlces" is about the only song on "El Oso" that resembles a radio-friendly pop tune, and it did recieve some radio play across the country. It's the kind of song that will put a big ol' smile on your face, even on the worst day. "Houston", "$300", "Misinformed", and "So Far I Have Not Found The Science" are all catchy, upbeat songs that dangle on the edge of obscurity, while songs like "Monster Man", "I Miss The Girl", and "The Incumbent" pretty much jump right off that edge.
        To my knowledge, Soul Coughing broke up after this album. That's a shame, because although their previous two were excellent, it all seemed to come together on "El Oso". This record is perfect for many occassions. You can put on you headphones, close your eyes and drift away, or take it to a party and dance. They blend the wierdness of Radiohead, with the funk of the Beastie Boys, with a little They Might Be Giants thrown in on the side. A must have for any fan of original music.Peace.

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