SOUL COUGHING Irresistible Bliss (Slash/London)
"See what you make of this!" wrote Kev, and first impressions suggested a not-so-impressive self-consciously wacky take on the Beastie Boys take on acoustic-bass-powered rap, reinforced by the most tooth-rottingly kitsch sleeve imagery since the cover of Jellyfishs "Spilt Milk", songs dedicated to candy and the presence of They Might Be Giants in the thanks list (as well as, rather predictably, David Byrne, the tantalisingly familiar Jeffy OBuckle, Echobelly, dub supremo Mad Professor and Suzanne Vega, strangely). However, those who reach as far as track 11 are rewarded as Soul Coughing launch themselves out of the swamp of averageness towards something very worthwhile indeed: "The Idiot Kings" has a selection of speaker-cleaning basslines, a decent tune with groove by the acre and a transcendental moment when M Doughty sings "fine, fine, fine" exactly like Alanis Morissette does in "One Hand In My Pocket", a summer soundtrack potent enough to seek and destroy every Dodgy album in creation. It is this, and this alone (well, apart from their recent 808 State collaboration) that suggests Soul Coughings finest moment has yet to arrive.