El Oso (a literal translation of the Spanish for 'The Bear'), released in 1998, is the third and final album by the New York City band Soul Coughing. The disc is marked by a deep drum and bass influence.
The disc yielded Soul Coughing's biggest hit single, "Circles". Cartoon Network gave it a music video in which a Flintstones cartoon was synched to the track as part of the Cartoon Network Groovies. A Cartoon Network video for the song "Rolling," was also produced which was synced with a Betty Boop cartoon.
Soul Coughing expand their funky free-for-all with El Oso
, a sturdy shack of samples rattling around in a boogie cup. No, it's not a disco revival, just a new way of grooving. Showing more muscle than on their previous release, Irresistable Bliss
, frontman M. Doughty spews nonsequiturs between the band's airy jams as if he were the blue-eyed hip-hop equivalent of Robyn Hitchcock. Doughty and the band shake hands with the loping "Circles," whisper sweet nothings to the piano-fed "Blame," and create semi-organic drum & bass on "Blame." "$300," the most addictive cut, slips under a raga spell as keyboardist M'ark De Gli Antoni spikes the brew with digital dust. Aside from "So Far I Have Not Found the Science" (a nearly direct rip-off of their own "Blue Eyed Devil," from their debut release, Ruby Vroom
), Soul Coughing have pushed their techno-funk sound further, making El Oso
equally limber and bracing. --Jason Josephes