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Boomkat Product Review:
Often branded a 'songwriter's songwriter', Cass McCombs doesn't really enjoy the kind of recognition and success of fellow Domino troubadours like Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, or even Lightspeed Champion, for that matter. This latest album perhaps underlines what might be the cause for this lack of crossover success into the mainstream: despite writing a whole host of artfully penned songs, few manage to truly penetrate the psyche in any immediate sense, and it's left to the more diligent, inquiring listener to pick through the lyrical treasure trove offered by these transmissions. Further to that, its difficult to pick out a single, overarching persona to these songs - there's something slightly fractured about their presentation, and the tone of opening track and single, 'Dreams Come True Girl' (channelling an old fashioned spirit with its shadowy '50s croon and sympathetic production) isn't really followed through by tracks like the synth-laden 'You Saved My Life'. Freakishly, the album seems to grow in strength towards its middle, ushering in the glittering lapsteel country of 'Harmonia', the beautiful 'My Sister, My Spouse' and 'Lionkiller Got Married' - one of the album's strangest and most arresting arrangements, characterised by a heavy staccato thud. The true rewards of this excellent record only fully reveal themselves once the listener has taken sufficient time to get acquainted with its ins and outs, but Catacombs is well worth investing yourself in.