(Smog) Supper

Never one to keep his moodiness to himself, Bill Callahan as (Smog) (complete with the brackets) has cheered up, slightly, for his 11th full-length record. Supper sees (Smog) continue as an amusing storytelling outlet for Callahan, with the same unique musicianship, but also uses some pleasant female backing vocals to brighten up some corners. Sarabeth Tucek is his source of light, which really increases his melodic stamina, spreading boy/girl harmonies throughout the beginning of Supper. Yet, fans of the sombreness shouldn’t turn away so quickly. Callahan’s search for bliss doesn’t last long, as his sullen staple kicks in for good once the Prozac wears off (about four songs in). "Feather By Feather” and "Butterflies Drowned In Wine” may crack half smiles early on, but "Ambition” and "Vessel In Vain” put out the brief and promising flames of contentment. Not quite as interesting as some of his other work, Supper does make for a good listen, but you get the feeling that Callahan hasn’t quite been straight with the listener. As always, it’s hard not to enjoy his wry outlook on the world, but this isn’t quite up there with the likes of Knock Knock or Dongs of Sevotion. (Drag City)