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February 2020
Review

Cass McCombs - Mangy Love

This isn’t an album to sleep on.
Cass McCombs - Mangy Love
Published: 12:45 pm, August 25, 2016
This isn’t an album to sleep on.

Label: ANTI
Released: August 26th 2016
Rating: ★★★★

Cass McCombs’ eighth album ‘Mangy Love’ is a serious record for serious times. Always an astute and prolific songwriter McCombs is now channelling his ire to a wealth of sociologic ills that blight the world and his home country of America.

It’s an album of big themes and direct action. His targets are predominantly the government and the misogyny of the broken US justice system. While these themes could potentially make the album heavy and overbearing it’s a testament to McCombs’ song writing chops that it always sounds compelling and fresh.

The vicious, malevolent groove of ‘Rancid Girl’ highlights a quiet anger and defiance that runs through the album. More often than not though, the heavy lyrics are set against some quite lovely melodies and masterful production to temper the grime and the dirt. The songs are mostly lush and full of interesting musical touches like the glorious brass and woodwind sounds on ‘Laughter Is The Best Medicine’ or the soulful lament of ‘Opposite House’ that features Angel Olsen on backing vocals.

McCombs’ long time love of folk and country is present but it is aligned to a kind of deeply heartfelt alluring soft-rock approach that reminds you of Destroyer’s acclaimed ‘Kaputt’ hopefully this should provide a similar breakout for the long time underrated songwriter.

Perhaps the best thing about the album is how simply glorious it all sounds. It displays a musical dexterity and diversity to it that lifts it to a higher level. You don’t often hear such accomplished playing, song writing and ambition all displayed on the one record. Here McCombs pulls it off. This isn’t an album to sleep on. Martyn Young

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