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Cass McCombs - Mangy Love (2016) [Official Digital Download 24/96]

Posted By: Pisulik
Cass McCombs - Mangy Love (2016) [Official Digital Download 24/96]

Cass McCombs - Mangy Love (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time - 59:16 minutes | 1,09 GB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Artwork: Front cover

On his eighth album, the singer-songwriter connects his gentle, acerbic soul to his most politically charged, well-stated, and funniest songs. On the very first song on his very first record, Cass McCombs went to the hospital. There he received some troubling test results and found himself faced with an unanswerable question. “Is it dying that terrifies you,” he sang, in a gentle, boyish sigh that would earn him plenty of comparisons to Elliott Smith, “Or just being dead?” It was a heavy introduction, but, in its plainspoken intensity, it foretold the work to come. As McCombs’ music progressed from murky lo-fi to austere folk-rock, his on-record persona has evolved with it, becoming at once more fleshed-out and more mysterious. He’s in a strange position now of being a veteran songwriter who we’re just getting to know.

On his last record, 2013’s double-album Big Wheel and Others, McCombs tried to show us everything. While it was his most ambitious album ranging from apocalyptic ballads to sunny, crooner pop, with enough room to include a faithful Thin Lizzy cover it was also his most unwieldy, an album as road-trip that was exhilarating and exhausting. *Mangy Love *takes the opposite approach, refining a career’s worth of ideas into his most focussed work yet, accomplishing what *Big Wheel *set out to do in about half the time. As expected from McCombs, *Mangy Love *is a uniformly cloudy work, but it’s his most revealing album, his most political, and his funniest yet. Across its twelve songs, McCombs dabbles in his deadpan surrealism, throws in a few well-placed toilet jokes, and even shares some of his Twitter drafts. “Netflix and die,” he scowls late in the album, “Go on and cry.”

While McCombs’ career has been one of slow-building evolution (“Season of the slug/Crawling up the vine,” goes a line on “Medusa’s Outhouse”), Mangy Love’s first half feels something like a crash course through his last fifteen years of songwriting. The set opens with “Bum Bum Bum,” whose soulful, echoing guitars harken back to McCombs’ early work. But the lyrics express confusion and hopelessness in the current flashpoint of police brutality. “How long until this river of blood congeals,” McCombs asks repeatedly, punctuating each stanza with an exhausted “bum bum bum.” It’s one of the most powerful songs McCombs has ever written: a plea for peace, or maybe just to pay attention.

Other tracks follow suit, expanding on McCombs' discography with a wider scope and greater confidence. “Medusa’s Outhouse” floats like a psychedelic smoke ring through Wit’s End’s wine-stained piano ballads, and “Low Flyin’ Bird” hums with a folksy flutter, recalling McCombs’ jammy detour on this year’s Skifflin’*. *These songs highlight McCombs’ keen pop sensibility that informed breakthrough moments like “You Saved My Life” and “County Line,” without forsaking any of his idiosyncrasies. The juxtaposition of the two are made immediately apparent amid the ’90s-Van Morrison jazz-pop of “Laughter Is the Best Medicine.” Guest vocalist Rev. Goat Carson slurs along with McCombs in almost-unison, his timing perfect, so as not to spoil the punchlines. “Sugar and spice,” they sing together, “And everything… weird.”

It’s a classic McCombs trick, flipping cliches into his own weird vernacular. It’s also something of a mission statement for the album’s back half. Songs like “Run Sister Run” and “Switch” favor the groove over the hook, giving away their secrets in the first 60 seconds and mostly just riding those vibes before fading around the five-minute mark. While lacking the momentum and immediacy of the album’s first half, these songs showcase the dynamics of McCombs’ band and the impeccably smooth production from Elliott Smith-collaborator Rob Schnapf. Like Ariel Pink’s similarly expansive Pom Pom, *Mangy Love *is comfortable in its experimentation, maintaining a consistent, lived-in atmosphere throughout its separate halves.

Ever resistant to traditional structures, however, McCombs imbues each side of the record with a track that deliberately disrupts the flow. “Rancid Girl,” an outtake-quality oddball placed in the confrontational spot of track two, loops a gnarly, bluesy riff while McCombs berates a 17-year-old (“You’re bad/I mean, you *smell *bad.”) Think of it as a symbolic sister to Neil Young’s “Stupid Girl,” the kind of character experiment that one might have expected McCombs to have outgrown by this point (which is probably exactly why he kept it on the album). On the opposite end of the spectrum is “It,” a late-album stunner that begins like the world’s saddest air conditioner booting up and climaxes with a choir of harmonies behind McCombs’ vocals. The song bursts out the speakers. “All of its life, wandering/All of mine, wondering,” he sings, a simple turn of phrase that reads like a reflection on the work he’s created: an ever-shifting body, with a restless brain behind it. But even if McCombs remains impossible to pin down, on Mangy Love, he’s never seemed more intent on making a connection.


01. Bum Bum Bum
02. Rancid Girl
03. Laughter Is The Best Medicine
04. Opposite House
05. Medusa's Outhouse
06. Low Flyin' Bird
07. Cry
08. Run Sister Run
09. In A Chinese Alley
10. It
11. Switch
12. I'm A Shoe

foobar2000 1.3.7 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2019-04-25 01:12:42

Analyzed: Cass McCombs / Mangy Love

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
DR7 -0.42 dB -8.84 dB 5:00 01-Bum Bum Bum
DR8 -0.19 dB -9.39 dB 4:22 02-Rancid Girl
DR7 -0.21 dB -8.37 dB 5:18 03-Laughter Is The Best Medicine
DR7 -0.08 dB -8.59 dB 4:15 04-Opposite House
DR6 -0.13 dB -8.08 dB 4:55 05-Medusa's Outhouse
DR7 -0.01 dB -8.17 dB 6:02 06-Low Flyin' Bird
DR7 -0.29 dB -9.01 dB 4:45 07-Cry
DR7 -0.19 dB -8.07 dB 5:52 08-Run Sister Run
DR7 -0.22 dB -8.80 dB 3:16 09-In A Chinese Alley
DR6 -0.05 dB -8.31 dB 5:12 10-It
DR7 -0.35 dB -9.21 dB 4:14 11-Switch
DR8 -0.38 dB -9.36 dB 6:06 12-I'm A Shoe

Number of tracks: 12
Official DR value: DR7

Samplerate: 96000 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 24
Bitrate: 2326 kbps
Codec: FLAC

All thanks go to the original releaser