Review: Cass McCombs: Wit’s End

by Jen Hazen

On Wit’s End (Domino), Cass McCombs shows us all that songs about debilitating sadness and unrelenting hopelessness can make for some pretty catchy tunes. Having cornered the market on bumming people out with 2009’s heavily instrumented Catacombs, McCombs appears to have moved on to making mascara run from the cheeks with just the sound of his voice and some accompanying clicks and clatters.

While Catacombs provided what can only be described as a more traditional “indie rock” sound, Wit’s End finds McCombs creating a more unique sound that teeters between Sounds of Silence-era Simon & Garfunkel and Roy Orbison—meaning, you can tell all this sadness is not just pouting and posturing. Just listen to the tracks “County Line” or “The Lonely Doll.” While all of the above may not sound like a resounding thumbs-up approval, just remember that only way to know you’re truly happy is to know what it’s like to be truly sad. [Peter Wenker]

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