Cass McCombs

Broken verse, glam rock, miscellaneous Brit-pop sounds, and a thin voice that wavers in and out of tune: a recipe for disaster, right? And yet, Michigan's Cass McCombs somehow combines these elements into PREfection, one of the most unique albums of this fledgling year. Backed by keyboardist Natalie Conn, drummer Dutch E. Germ, and bassist Trevor Shimizu, the Michigan lyricist barrels through songs such as "Tourist Woman" and "Cuckoo," drawing observations from the latter such as "Like Brughel's Miser in the flame/Quite literally, you're insane." A latter day Morrissey, McCombs takes aim at hypocrisy ("City of Brotherly Love") and fragile hearts ("She's Still Suffering"), but the subtext is always himself and his view of the world, a narcissistic perspective that is fascinatingly rendered.

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