Exclaim!'s Top 10 Folk & Country Albums Best of 2016



 
6. Cass McCombs
Mangy Love
(Anti-)

Over the past decade-and-a-half, Cass McCombs has quietly and confidently developed into a wry psych-folk veteran, and his experience shows in spades on Mangy Love.
 
While McCombs's songwriting style still feels earnest and conversational, he takes a smooth and smoky soft-rock approach to many of the arrangements here that strain at the traditional confines of what one would consider "folk" music. These ethereal sound beds backdrop McCombs's trademark array of wily characters and off-the-cuff witticisms, revealing little details and turns of phrase that are woven into his narratives.
 
McCombs uses this platform to explore relationships, friendships and infatuations in all their messy and confounding glory. He does a remarkable job of illustrating the often surreal, dream-like moments of lucidity where the proverbial house is turned upside down and we exist in little augmented worlds with those we care about.
Cole Firth