Cass McCombs - Mangy Love 2xLP
Flutes, breezy vibes, drum machines, a guitar tone that shares a striking similarity to Jerry Garcia circa 1988, some borderline shoegaze and a nigh-uncomfortable amount of Brothers In Arms era Dire Straits maneuvers; these are all potential turn-offs. There's a lot about this new Cass McCombs album that shouldn't work and that on paper you shouldn't like, but it does, and you do, and it's ok.
The thing that keeps it all together - aside from the fact that it's impeccably produced and beautifully recorded - is the thing that keeps every Cass record together, the lyrics and that voice. McCombs is one of the best lyricists of his generation and this new long player, Mangy Love, is no exception. From playful to brutal to inscrutable, McCombs has a way of dropping a one-liner that's unrivaled in indie-rock. "Four years I've been clean, now I think I'll shoot myself" and "you got the disposition of a dirty bomb mixed with Minnie Mouse," he sneers in "Rancid Girl" while later, in "Cry," he drops arguably the most wicked riposte to 2016 we've seen, "we're like two peas in a pod – Netflix and die." Mangy Love is McCombs finest effort, in this reviewer's humble opinion, since 2009's Catacombs and maybe his best ever.