cass mccombs – humor risk

every idiot thing you say and do speaks of pain and truth

finally, some ‘newly’ made music that doesn’t feel like i’m cruising around on the latest popular thing; like peering through a window at some mid-20s hipster’s party. cass mccombs seems like a perfect next step in this music collection – a torch passed on from the likes of will, dave and david – perhaps the foundation of the fourth age.

this album seemed to review well when it came out, but not as well as its immediate and co-habited predecessor, wit’s end. after i absorbed both, this one came out on top for me. it’s not pure brilliance for 100% of the time, but every song is an example of what cass can create. it’s a spectrum. one song does, however, severely creep me out.

it starts with a great fuzzy rhythm driven song, love thine enemy, which peaks, ironically, with a spectacular thinning of the layers in the middle – quieting slightly – and beautifully articulated guitar solo. it’s a song that feels like kin of something dave pajo would write and sing. it’s extended two songs later with a similar structure on the same thing.

in a few other moments, most obviously on mariah, it could have come out of mid-season silver jews. quiet and slightly off-key; vaguely unsettling.

cass writes lyrics that you have to think about very consciously to approach the meaning, but not in a frustrating impenetrable way, if that can be believed. take this: love thine enemy, but hate their lack of sincerity. while one wants their enemy to be insincere in order that the moral high ground can be assumed, it clearly frustrates cass because it seems insufficient basis on which to justify hating their guts. or, indeed, it is one’s own sincerity that is hated? where is the core of it?

and for everything that has been great on this journey so far, to every man his chimera is one of the most remarkable songs written in recent times by anyone anywhere. sometimes it’s so slow it seems as though it will just stop, mid-song. it captured so perfectly how i’ve felt about my relationships, in hindsight (and sometimes vividly in the moment), with the blackest humour available; and it’s where i’m comfortably at right now…

don’t weep down on me, i don’t need a host to live

and in the only real thing to come out since this album; nothing like a fantastic protest song, of sorts:


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