The first album in eight years by alt-country supergroup Golden Smog — which includes Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and the Jayhawks’ Gary Louris, among others — is as far from country this time around as The Drive-By Truckers are to jazz. With those two at the helm it would be fair to call Golden Smog an alt-country supergroup, but upon listening to Another Fine Day, there is clearly less Gram Parsons and more Minus 5.
For those Tweedy fans looking to get a Wilco fix, the man only appears on six of the disc’s fifteen tracks and co-pens just two of them with Louris – the acoustic “Long Time Ago” and “Listen Joe.” And for those looking for the rootsy Jayhawks sounds of Rainy Day Music, you’ll find Another Fine Day more in shape with the sonic efforts of Smile and Sound of Lies.
Along with Louris, the star of 2006 Golden Smog is Kraig Jarret Johnson, whose lead vocals on the opener “You Make It Easy,” lush “5-22-02,” fuzzed out rocker “Beautiful Mind” and “Frying Pan Eyes,” shows that Smog can rock well into today. Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum lends his touch to throwback simple rockers “Corvette” and “Hurricane,” but fails to travel anywhere original. Considering the talents of the Smog brass, there are too many “whatever” shrugs, as the disc’s highlight, aside from the Wilco B side wannabe ” I Can,” is a cover of The Kinks’ “Strangers” sung by Tweedy.
Fans of Golden Smog’s first two albums Down By the Old Mainstream and Weird Tales will find Another Fine Day a departure from their heartland heavy past. With fifteen songs, you get your money’s worth, while leaving hope for better Golden Smog days in the studio.