Catacombs - Domino
FILTER Grade: 89%
By Madeline Virbasius-Walsh on December 29, 2009
Cass McCombs, like a mid-career Bob Dylan, has a gift for arresting, ambiguous and heartfelt lyrics that act as conversations. His simple melodies are hummable, yet burn deep. “My Sister, My Spouse” and “Lionkiller Got Married” from McCombs’ latest album, Catacombs, are bound to stand out as future classics. Such songs have a dual nature as observational pieces, felt as either uplifting or haunting, depending on how you approach them. There’s an underlying transcendence in McCombs’ work that acts as pure poetry, but it also can come across as direct storytelling when taken at surface value. Perhaps that’s why the album opens with “Dreams-Come-True-Girl,” featuring guest vocals by the actress Karen Black. It’s one of the album’s most “radio friendly” songs, with a doo-wop, Roy Orbison swagger that lures you in instantly, easing the way for the more intense, peculiarly gorgeous soul-searching to come.