Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Cass McCombs

Earlier this year I was asked by Domino Records to provide the press blurb for their artist Cass McCombs, who was releasing a new album in Catacombs in July. In early 2008 I was totally absorbed by his previous record, Dropping The Writ and on the back of that mild obsession with his songs managed to do an interview with the American, something he usually distinctly reluctant to do. Domino then asked me to adapt the resulting article with the emphasis on Catacombs, jazz it up into a more promotional piece and suddenly it's a press release.

Well now the album is out and I've been keeping a keen eye on reviews. As someone who is on the end of countless press releases it was an interesting exercise to discover the varying extents to which reviewers lift from the release itself - as well as gauging response to an album that is very lovely indeed, if not quite on a par with Dropping The Writ. The review in the current issue of Uncut (which I can't find online) hits the nail pretty neatly on the head, while this one I thought was a little harsh. Dusted Magazine's review is not too thrilled with the album but constructs its criticism well, if calling McCombs a '90s sitcom dad' is a little much.

These were two of four negative reviews of the album on the first page of a Google search results page. The BBC's review, here, is slightly more positive and takes more of a cue from the promotional drivel I wrote, while not directly quoting it. But then we are back to ambivalence with The Fly. These lukewarm receptions are a little surprising to me, given that even the record's weakest moments are more interesting than say, the new Peter Doherty CD that came in the post this morning, or of course, the new Moby album. I also have never been able to understand the often-made comparison between McCombs and Morrissey. Oh well.

That press release can be found here.

Three songs that are good: 'Orange Cymbals' by Nurses, 'My Unusual Friend' by Fruit Bats and 'Yahoo' by Slumberwood.

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