Cass McCombs, '
Humor Risk' (Domino)

7
Humor Risk
Critical Mass
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Label: Domino

by William Goodman

This enigmatic singer-songwriter has packed a remarkable amount of soul-crippling drama into one year. After his tenderly downcast, early 2011 effort, Wit's End, Cass McCombs confronts life's miseries with a smirk and a softly rocking beat on this enjoyable sixth album. "Mystery Mail" pairs a tale of childhood pals who trade letters from prison after being busted for selling dope with Tom Petty-esque guitars and organs; on "Love Thine Enemy," McCombs' protests against love's insincerity are lifted by punk-lite fuzz bass; and the aching realization that "pain and love" are interchangeable ?is glazed into layers of ?psych folk in "The Same Thing." Suffering rarely has sounded so comforting.

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