After serving up a disc filled with new-wave sounds, low-key combo Golden Smog is back with a folksier effort that shuns the studio tricks for good, honest, catchy tunes. The group for years has consisted of Gary Louris and Marc Perlman of the Jayhawks, Kraig Jarret Johnson of Run Westy Run, Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. Tweedy isn't here this go-round, and the lack of noodling with production may result from his absence.
Meantime, listeners can soak up the bouncy "Can't Even Tie Your Own Shoes," a cover of David Bowie's "Starman" that to these ears hews pretty close to the original, and the British Invasion-esque "Look At You Now." "Scotch On Ice" sounds like an outtake from a Jayhawks album, although it's a little more ribald than anything that group would commit to disc.
Golden Smog got its start as a laid-back effort from a bunch of midwestern rockers who wanted a busman's holiday. "Blood On The Slacks" returns the group to those days, and the results are more satisfying than their attempts to fiddle with studio wizardry.