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Monday
Nov182013

CASS McCOMBS - Big Wheel And Others

Two years after the downer-folk/lighter-rock one-two punch that was WIT'S END soon followed by Humor Risk, McCombs' newest throws all his approaches in the pot, making for an 85-minute-long, double-disc effort that's all over the map in the best of ways.

"The titular 'Others' aren’t a mess of B-sides and throwaways—following the manly-man trucker of 'Big Wheel,' those others are all the dreamers, drifters, dealers, waitresses and wastrels populating the westbound highway. This isn't the Disneyfied hoboing of that rabble-rouser with the illegitimate sons, nor is it the faithful road that’s no place to start a family. Working from cover-to-cover through the American Songbook, McCombs bears equal witness to the principled and the unscrupulous, delivering a travelogue of country folk, folk blues, cemetery blues, lounge jazz, free jazz, rockabilly, cock rock—you name it, it’s all represented." - Paste

"Unless you are listening to one of his seven albums, perhaps a little hypnotised by his gifts and the one setting in which everything about Cass McCombs seems to make sense, this artist can seem a perplexing figure. [...] In 2011 he released two compelling, confusing and challenging albums in WIT'S END and Humor Risk, the latter he promoted by only doing postal interviews. If that wasn't enough to make an awkward fit with a culture driven by snap judgements, instant accessibility and short attention spans, here is an album with 22 tracks of wilful, exploratory music and his familiar wizened poetry. And a cover of a Thin Lizzy song.

There is no getting around the fact Big Wheel And Others is a slog on first listen and will always remain so for some, yet McCombs is nothing if not a songwriter who knows catchiness: somehow, each of these songs is memorable for its structure and compositional bite, though some are better than others. The triumphs are among the best things he has done." - The Quietus

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