Cass McCombs PREfection

[Monitor; 2005]

Styles: shoegaze, indie rock, singer/songwriter
Others: Ride, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Smiths

Cass McCombs wrote a soundtrack for his fake life. At least, that's what it seems like on his latest album, PREfection. McCombs' sophomore follow up to the 2003 album, A, gazes down into the soul of a handsome man and digs up the world he wants to live in. The songs are fictional symbols of McCombs' real life, and PREfection makes him look like a too-cool poet.

I can almost see the video he would make: standing at a city bus stop in the rain, singing like he means it and looking so pretty -- the entire album feels like a romantic movie. If you listened really close to PREfection, you might hear someone holding a boom microphone. You might even hear the sound of rolling wheels as a camera follows McCombs down the street, backwards and beautiful to the sound of droning guitars, organs, and drums on songs like "Subtraction."

Then, like somebody forgot to edit the film, PREfection's music drones on endlessly, rising up and down, over and over. Some of the songs, like "Multiple Suns," have skip written all over them. There's just not enough diversity. Cass and company threw together a contemplative mix of instruments but don't do much with them.

It's also worth mentioning that McCombs tends to sound a bit like Morrissey Jr. Honestly, if Morrissey had a little brother -- and he might -- this is what I would imagine he sounds like. "Sacred Heart" is a throw back to the Smiths, with the way McCombs' voice falls into the musical flow and dribbles out his mouth at the same time.

It's difficult to understand what McCombs is saying, but no doubt it's about his life squished through a screen, mixed with drama and pounded into a homemade paper. And maybe that's both the best and worst part of PREfection. It's interesting but feels paper-thin.

1. Equinox
2. Subtraction
3. Multiple Suns
4. Tourist Woman
5. Sacred Heart
6. She's Still Suffering
7. Cuckoo
8. Bury Mary
9. City of Brotherly Love
10. All Your Dreams May Come True

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