Cass McCombs – There Can Only Be One


There are artists or bands that you miss, and when you eventually discover them, you wonder how you managed to live without them in the first place. Personally, Cass McCombs is one such artist. It took me until the release of 2009’s Catacombs before realizing the enduring qualities of McCombs creations. The album featured, amongst others, the heartbreakingly beautiful “You Save My Life”(highly worth reliving by clicking here). It’s one of those songs that words don’t do justice, a heart-wreckingly gloomy story, disguised as a love song. It has stayed with me – through good and bad, never losing its initial impact.

In the earlier stage of his career, the nomadic McCombs slipped in and out of genres, just like he moved from town to town, never really finding a scene to settle in. But from Catacombs and there on, he seems to have found his place, at least in music, leaving the experiments with 80’s new wave and reverb coated Brit pop forever behind. The good judgment on his latest two albums – both of them released in 2011, has been persistent and thorough, as he continued to strip away any unnecessary instrumentation around his songs.

New song “There Can Be Only One” from his forthcoming (sort-of) double album doesn’t disappoint. It feels like a very “typical McCombs song”, if such thing exists. Still, for being McCombs, the song is a light-hearted feel-good song, with the vigor and staying-power of any of his recordings and should undoubtedly appeal to supporters of early Ryan Adams or current Kurt Vile.

McCombs seventh (and a half) album is titled Big Wheel and Others and features 22 (!) “road songs, rock songs, folk songs, blues songs, country songs, rhythm and blues songs, skron non-songs, cinema songs, cult songs, poem songs, jams and ballads”. Sounds promising if you ask me. Out October 15th via Domina.

4 thoughts on “Cass McCombs – There Can Only Be One

  1. Hey Ryan, I wasn’t attempting to compare the two. I only used Kurt Vile as a selling point for those who haven’t heard McCombs before. But I’m interested in hearing what you mean by “ahead?” Cheers.

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