Dogs & Donkeys

If former SN&R columnist Christian Kiefer claims that his sixth LP is bound by a theme of economics, the tenderness of his songwriting belies that typically cool subject. Sure, maybe “Pretty White Clouds” eavesdrops on a conversation between suburban lovers whose house makes neighbors “shine with envy,” but a few verses later they almost lament “the best this cash can buy.” Clinical titles like “Economic Theory” and “Taxonomy” give way to warmer ones, like “Afterglow,” with characters “filled with blood and glass.” This elegant ennui well deserves its cast of assisting musicians (the Band’s Garth Hudson and Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, for starters), and the best track, “Fisher King,” makes it clear that Kiefer’s chief concern is the instable, insatiable economy of the heart.