Best CD by Local Musicians Houston 2005 - Michael Haaga, The Plus and Minus Show
No writer has yet encapsulated what this CD sounds like. Sure, it's easy to broadly label it a "surreal pop-rock masterpiece," but that doesn't do it justice, nor do the comparisons to acts like the Shins, the Flaming Lips and Todd Rundgren. The album stands up to all that praise, but it's that rare beast that sounds like everything else you've ever loved while sounding like nothing you've ever heard before. There's the melancholy of unplugged opener "Same Old Strings" and the anthemic numbers like "Looking Beyond" that make you stick your chest out and throw your shoulders back. The snarling "Four Letter Words" harks back to Haaga's metal days, while the three-song dream-float that weighs anchor at "Serious" and sails through "Supernaive" and "Anything Is Real" is as achingly beautiful as anything the late-'60s Beatles ever came up with. The CD helped Haaga and guitarist Kelly Doyle dominate this year's Music Awards, and we suggest you pick it up and find out why.