By Clark Collis
Updated December 20, 2019 at 05:40 AM EST

Welcome to Extended Play in which we review the albums we couldn’t quite fit into the magazine, even when we used a crowbar (though, in retrospect, that was kind of dumb thing to try.) This week: a pair of releases masterminded by longtime R.E.M. associate Scott McCaughey.

Young Fresh Fellows

I Think This Is

Rock (Yep Roc)

The Minus 5
Country-rock (Yep Roc)

My mother was right! You wait ages for an album from R.E.M. “fifth member” Scott McCaughey and then two come along at once. Actually, she was only half correct. The singer-songwriter put out a CD just last year with Peter Buck and the Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn under the name of The Baseball Project. But that hasn’t stopped him releasing an album today from each of his two regular-ish bands, The Young Fresh Fellows and The Minus 5. The Fellows’ I Think This Is was produced by Brit cult fave Robyn Hitchcock and muscular, psychedelically-inclined, retro-rockers like “Betty Let The Good Times Crawl” and “YOUR Mexican Restaurant” are nicely reminiscent of Hitchcock’s band The Soft Boys. The Minus 5’s Killingsworth is a more country-oriented set that boasts the talents of both Buck and Decemberists drummer John Moen. It is also features a number of quite beautiful and, at times, bleakly amusing laments. Opener “Dark Hand of Contagion” compares a well-planned wedding day to “a German occupation” while the collection’s third track is the loveliest-sounding song called “The Disembowelers” you’re ever likely to hear.

I Think This Is
Download This: “Betty Let The Good Times Crawl”

Download This: “Dark Hand of Contagion”

— Clark Collis

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