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Cass McCombs’ New Single Chills In More Ways Than One

Cass McCombs

Californian artist Cass McCombs has been captivating his listeners since the release of his debut EP ‘Not the Way’, almost 15 years ago. Through the years McCombs has always managed to maintain his smooth vocals and beautifully nuanced song-writing, and his latest single Opposite House is no exception.

At first listen this song seems like just another chilled-out tune for a grey, rainy day. The rhythmic guitar and gentle string section create a vibe that’s sexy and relaxed, reminiscent of some groovy 70s tunes.

McCombs’ dusky vocals are smoothly alluring, perfectly counterpointed by Angel Olsen’s barely-there sighs floating over the top, a stark contrast to her usual folky yodel. This pairing creates an effect that is simultaneously soothing and fascinating.

Compared to the gentleness of the music, the lyrics are surprisingly dark. Written as an allusion to mental illness and depression, Opposite House uses heavy metaphors to paint a bleak picture. McCombs describes snakes “coiling where the mice crawl”, creating a viscerally powerful image. Other lines such as “When it rains inside/there is nowhere to hide” evoke a strong sense of hopelessness, with no hope of escape.

Despite its bleak message, Opposite House is a lovely track to listen to. The melody is calming while the lyrics are upsetting, but it’s really up to the listener to decide which experience they want out of the song.

Cass McCombs’ eighth album ‘Mangy Love’ is set for release in late August.