Cass McCombs: “The Same Thing”
Cass McCombs might not be a household name, but he’s quietly developing into one of the most compelling songwriters today. He personally keeps a low profile–he doesn’t grant too many interviews, and when he does, his answers are oftentimes cagey. Yet his prolific writing keeps him in the limelight: this year alone he’s released two critically-acclaimed records, Wit’s End and Humor Risk.
The California-born McCombs has been steadily releasing music since 2002, and it was 2009′s Catacombs that first put him on the map. The record was hailed as one of the year’s best, and there’s no doubt that his 2011 output will receive the same honor. Wit’s End and Humor Risk diverge in sound–the former is a sparse, somber affair full of ballads, while the latter coasts along at a breezy pace–but they were both recorded on the fly at various studios around the country. This sense of traveling restlessness comes across in the music, especially on Humor Risk. McCombs uses very basic instrumentation (acoustic guitar, bass, and drums) to provide a simple framework for his complex songs. His lyrics match the searching element of the music by asking big questions about life and love.
“The Same Thing” sets the tone early, with McCombs alluding to both his darker and lighter sides as being “cut from different sides of the same cloth.” The song is a patient exploration of this theme, full of novelistic detail that only McCombs can provide.