21 Plays

Cass McCombs

'Better than memory, actual time travel' (Multiple Suns)

memory, actual time travel' (Multiple Suns)

Cass McCombs plays the Roadhouse in Manchester on Wednesday.

'A' is one of my favourite albums. The only album i know of to reference Hannukah, Chrismas and Ramadan. And do a pretty concise summary of The Bible (When The Bible Was Wrote). But it's not all religious nonsense. In fact there's barely any.

A is more lofi than his recent stuff and didn't come with a lyric sheet. Instead it instructed: for lyrics send a stamp addressed envelope!! Ha. This meant i misheard 'it's lunchtime, fix a pal a drink' from A Comedian Is Someone Who Tells Jokes as 'his lunchtime fix of powdered drinks'. Think slimfast. I still prefer my version.

PREfection is also great. Although it did take me about 3 years to get into. At first i was disappointed by the change of style and only gave it a few listens, disappointed. I came back to it much later, not expecting much and became addicted. Repeated listens (over listening??) suits Cass McCombs as there are recurring characters (Klock, Tourist Woman, Lionkiller) and themes that run through his albums. Lyric geek heaven.

I read that Cass had recently married and Equinox started to make some sense (apart from the line 'silverfish quilting testicle'). What at first seems like a rather quaint: a description of a wedding 'deep in the heart of Fontainebleu' and crooned in an arch, almost Noel Coward style becomes more sinister. The 'wedding is spoiled by gifts. Catherine De Medici lives' and the 'despotic owl conducts the wolves and mulls attacking the fox'. A (rather thinly) veiled criticism of his mother or father at his own wedding? Who knows or cares, it doesn't matter. It's great imagery. And makes walking for hours and hours a lot more entertaining. Cheers Cass.

He has loads of great lines and pretensiousness suits him well. Why not use Latin in a pop song? This is from Sacred Heart:

'Alas! Jimmy.

And all the members of the covenant

Noble scholars,

without you I'd have drowned in gutterwater


You, of course, have my infinite gratitude'

But the song ends with the more simple and direct 'love doesn't always boomerang'. Beautiful.

I've not enjoyed his 2 most recent albums as much as the others but have still found them quite intriguing. In 3 years time i'll probably think they're as good as his rest.

Cass also came up with the line 'better than memory, actual time travel' in Multiple Suns




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