A Folk Set Apart by Cass McCombs is an anthology of rarities, b-sides, and what McCombs refers to as Space Junk. The songs span an eleven year period, from 2003-2014. Fans will be delighted with this - but it will also entice new listeners, who can use it as a gateway to his back catalogue. Available on 19-track CD and 11-track LP with 8 additional tracks available digitally.
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Why can I never completely get on with Cass Mccombs despite him writing quite a lot of music I actually like? His brilliant dirge-like ‘Wits End’ being a career highlight which i thoroughly enjoyed but what is it that stops me from ever declaring myself a fan?
Is it that he releases too much music? Possible. Could it be the slapdash nature of some recordings or his general glumness? I’m not sure. I can’t get too excited by this rarities and B sides collection but it does show an interesting arc between his early thrashy recordings which kind of recall Ezra Furman at times as he progresses through power pop, dirge-blues, gentle homespun folk eventually arriving at the eerie back road compositions he is perhaps known best for. The major surprise is how noisy much of the first half of the record is, the songs belted out in haze of rehearsal room dust yet between them gorgeous tracks like ‘Twins’ appear from the ether which point towards the Big Star/Raspberries type ballads that littered his early albums.
Perhaps the problem with Cass McCombs is that he veers through so many styles that you are not sure whether you are coming and going. There are loads of tracks here that make you wonder - why is he not loved more? Perhaps only I can answer that.
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