Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] welcome sharing of the band's playful way with Sixties pastiche and vigorous defense of pop classicism's truths and joys."
Paste (magazine) - "The sound is very much mid-'60s Beach Boys/Byrds pop stuff: light, breezy vocals and lush instrumental harmonies..."
Audio Mixer: Scott McCaughey.
Recording information: Covington, LA; Dungeon of Horror, Portland, OR; Manor, TX; Strictly Vintage, Seattle, WA; The Loft, Chicago, IL; Type Foundry, Portland, OR.
Photographers: Mary Winzig; Scott McCaughey.
Scott McCaughey is a talented guy who happens to have a lot of talented friends, and when he hangs out in his basement with his buddies, the results tend to be a lot more interesting than your brother-in-law and his fantasy football league or video game tournaments. McCaughey has a small recording studio in his cellar he's dubbed the Dungeon of Horror, and in 2014 he released a vinyl-only box set, Scott the Hoople in the Dungeon of Horror, compiled from unreleased songs he'd recorded at home with such notable pals as Peter Buck, Jeff Tweedy, Ian McLagan, John Moen and Nate Query (of the Decemberists), Linda Pitmon (from the Baseball Project and Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3), and Kurt Bloch (of the Fastbacks). That box set, credited to McCaughey's ad hoc group the Minus 5, sold out its limited-edition run of 750 in no time flat, and for those folks who missed it, McCaughey has given them a second chance with Dungeon Golds, which gives a wider release to 12 songs from the set. Even though this material was recorded over the space of several years with a rotating cast of accompanists, Dungeon Golds sounds impressively cohesive, which isn't that much of a surprise given that McCaughey wrote all the songs and he plays multiple instruments on nearly every track. Still, while McCaughey is clearly a team player and gives his instrumentalists plenty of room to shine, he's the unquestioned leader of the Minus 5 and the star of Dungeon Golds; his melodic sense is less willfully goofy than it was during his days in the Young Fresh Fellows, but his way with a poppy melody and a clever hook is as strong as ever, and the playful surrealism of his lyrics manages to be thoughtful and witty in equal measure as he ponders yesterday and today in "My Generation," considers his inevitable fate on "In the Ground," and holds on to hope in "Hold Down the Fort." While plenty of folks might pick up Dungeon Golds because some well-known musicians are on board, even with a cast of unknowns Scott McCaughey would still be writing fine songs and singing them with heart and humor, and that's what makes Dungeon Golds worth your time. ~ Mark Deming