Misery minus company

Nov 22, 2000 at 12:00 am

As if admitting defeat in matters of the heart ain’t depressing enough, Dayton, Ohio’s Dave Doughman has written an entire album from emotional ground zero, wary and worse for the wear. We’ve all been there — relationships break up, nerves break down and we’ve all sworn off romance while cursing ourselves for believing this time would be different. Yet, even as Midwestern misery spills from his drunken late-night confessions with an unsettling bluntness, Doughman refuses to lose hope: “I will go to sleep with the light on just in case you drive by.”

While Swearing at Motorists’ somber and stark second full-length of countrified rock narratives refuses to soften the blows of heartbreak, it also mercifully refuses self-pitying hopelessness. Instead, the duo — including drummer Don Thrasher (ex-Guided by Voices) — attempts to find relief in the contours of its small-city existence: lonesome highways, beers and bars, pot.

These are, of course, only small consolations for the loss of true love in Number Seven Uptown as Doughman sings on the album’s final song, “Always thought I’d be around, but not this time.” Yet, for better or worse, we all know there’s always a next time.

E-mail Jimmy Draper at [email protected].