Minus Five The Minus Five (aka The Gun Album)

Scott McCaughey’s gifts appear to be twofold: he writes great sugary pop songs with an edge and he’s good with a day timer. It’s the easiest way to explain his ability to corral members of R.E.M. and Wilco as consistent, auxiliary members in the loose-knit collective known as the Minus Five. Swelling to 17 collaborators here, including Kelly Hogan, John Wesley Harding and Ken Stringfellow, the band dutifully tackle McCaughey’s playful songs. Drawing much inspiration from the solo work of John Lennon and Paul Westerberg, McCaughey faithfully follows the Beatle on songs like "Rifle Called Goodbye,” "With a Gun” and "All Worn Out,” while the Replacements are invoked on wry tunes like "Aw Shit Man,” "Out There on the Maroon” and "Original Luke.” He displays a deft knack for dark, Tweedy-esque folk on "Cigs Coffee Booze” and morose pop on "Bought a Rope.” All told, the Minus Five continue to provide McCaughey with an outlet to create some clever, timeless music with an all-star cast of musical supporters. (Yep Roc)