8/10 Clinton Staff review, 13 April 2011
Cass McCombs recently announced that he would only be doing press interviews by letter. Good on him I say, journalism has become so lazy these days ever since email came into being. Cut and paste, cut and paste. Leaving all that aside, something has obviously got into Cass in recent times, with an album called 'Wits End' containing a track called 'Buried Alive', this one isn't going to be a party favourite. It is, though, an exceptionally good album if you are in the mood for it (ie bleak, in despair). But its one that for some reason starts with the weakest track, the 70's fm ballad styling of 'County Line' isn't the most auspicious start but once you reach the excellent 'The Lonely Doll' you start to realise something special might be going on. It hits somewhere in the middle ground between Leonard Cohen and Mazzy star, creeping along at a snails pace slowly unravelling its colours. Whilst the dirge like 'Saturday Song' is almost too much to bear, the album hits its stride with 'Memory Stain' with its (relatively) chirpy harpsichord and percussion. This is in the fantastic lineage of songwriting that starts somewhere near Randy Newman, passes through Big Star's 'Sister Lovers,Gastr Del Sol's 'Camofleur' and Songs Ohia's wonderous 'Ghost Tropic'. The final notes ebb away in the style of Talk Talks later experiments segueing beautifully into 'Hermits Cave' which brings to mind Scott Walkers madcap, tortured 'Tilt' album. Its a slow burner but well worth investigating.
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- Wit's End by Cass McCombs
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