Cass McCombs-Humor Risk

Cass McCombs is a strange musician, an outsider, always just flirting with the edge, clearly some sort of genius but five albums and an E.P. in a ten year career isn’t exactly prolific and now his sixth arrives in just under one.  It’s easy to compare his work with fellow musicians like Bill Callahan or Will Oldham but only because they share a similar maudlin style, but whereas Bill relies on his quirkiness and Will his voice, McCombs is all about the words and the stories. Musically he has more in common with Kurt Vile (‘The Same Thing’ here a close companion of ‘Jesus Fever’ from Vile’s  ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’) he gets the song locked down into a repetitive groove with which to weave his words over the top. Opener ‘Love Thine Enemy’ is a perfect example of this style and actually lulls you into a false sense of security that maybe McCombs has cheered up a little but fear not the further you get into the record the more you realise he hasn’t. At just eight tracks it is roughly the same length as ‘Wit’s End’ but put them together and you have the best double this side of Ryan Adam’s ‘Cold Roses’ which makes you wonder why they didn’t? A man clearly not satisfied with having one album in the approaching best of the year polls ‘Humor Risk’ could also nudge its way in there.

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