Shaking off some of the aggressive quirkiness.
On the surface, there's nothing too ostensibly weird about Cass McCombs' brand of strummy folk-pop, but four albums deep into his career, McCombs has proven himself to be a rare bird indeed. The lovely Catacombs is arguably his most straightforward effort to date, but it's also is most lyrically twisty. On "Dreams Come True Girl" McCombs unrolls a lovely ode to the perfect lady while actress and cult-icon Karen Black backs him up on vocals. In "The Executioner's Song" the titular character expresses love for his unpleasant occupation, which plays out like a sweet celebration of murder. McCombs might have shaken off some of the aggressive quirkiness of earlier records in favor of prettier songs and more straightforward narratives, but this only serves to highlight the peculiarity of McCombs' many talents. For someone that chooses to work in what is accessible and familiar milieau, McCombs manages to create indie-pop that is both uneasy and wonderfully delicate. You'd be hard pressed to find another song as lovely and as funny as "Don't Vote" on any album released in recent memory.
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