104639ANTI- – August 26th

In many ways you know what you’re getting with Cass Mccombs and eight albums and nearly fifteen years into his career, that’s alright by me. Playing like a thinking man’s collection of middle of the road jams (only penned for people who hate MOR), new record Mangy Love sees him at his most provocative and playful, and stands toe- to-toe with his best releases. Beneath the laid-back muzak-haze of tracks like ‘Opposite House’ and ‘Bum Bum Bum’ things aren’t as calm as they seem, and lyrically the album purrs with dark sentiments and politically loaded sermons. On album opener he sings “Bloods in the streets/Our eternal river/I know the killer/He counts my silver” and compares his congressman to the KKK, while on ‘Rancid Girl’ he jarringly tackles addiction and prostitution with the half-slurred delivery of Kurt Vile. There’s a strong sense of humour though (as a quick glance at the track listing hints), perhaps best captured on the sickly surreal voice over of ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’ that proclaims “Sugar and spice and everything… weird”. It’s weird alright, especially as the track winds down to the sounds of strained gargling, flute and harp; a unique compositional recipe. Sure, Mangy Love may sound effortless but, to coin a line from ‘Medusa’s Outhouse’, “if it’s so easy, you try”.

Buy: Cass McCombs – Mangy Love