Up at the surface, the music world fascinates over flawless beats, filtered poses and brash demeanours, but down in the deep dark blue there’ll always be incredible artists like Cass McCombs who oppose fads and live in a world of their own. Far from a fleeting romance, McCombs has been quietly wooing audiences since 2001 with a string of timeless and understated records that combine elements of rock, folk, psych and country, and tonight is no exception.
At The Haunt this evening, the Californian singer-songwriter comes armed with a career-spanning set that pays special attention to latest master stroke ‘Mangy Love’ – the veteran’s eighth studio album. In the flesh, the record encompasses all there is to love about McCombs: virtuosic guitar breaks, sprawling arrangements that send the room into a dreamlike state and emotive vocal melodies that make the hairs on the back of the neck stand.
Cass McCombs and his band defy trend and are devoid of bravado, dressed unremarkably like those he serenades and interspersing each song with humble nods of appreciation aimed at the swarm of applauding onlookers. The biggest cheers follow ‘Morning Star’‘s woozy folk, ‘Cry’‘s sleek funk pop and ‘Bum Bum Bum’‘s lackadaisical country rock, all of which mesmerise due to McCombs‘ adept fretwork and the razor-tight backing of bass, drums and keys.
At the set’s dazzling climax, a rousing ‘That’s That’, a cathartic ‘Dreams-Come-True-Girl’ and an epic ‘County Line’ remind us once more of the man’s prolific output. The execution is faultless and free of pretence, testament to the American’s quietly assured brilliance.