Cass McCombs' latest album, "Dropping the Writ," is a weird, fiery mix of lonely droning songs that combine parts of underground folk and experimental basement rock 'n' roll.
His previous album, "PREfection," met with Internet acclaim and parallels to the Velvet Underground and The Smiths.
The Lou Reed vibe is there, especially on songs like "Lionkiller," the opening track. The third song, "That's That," is determined and great, with retro Blondie bass lines and soft, simple drums backing McCombs' wavering falsetto as he sings about a job cleaning toilets in a night club.
"Morning Shadows" is delicate and fragile, with McCombs' vocals washing in from a distance, sounding like someone hit "record" while he lamented verbally in an empty hallway. The album closer, "Wheel of Fortune," is echoic and atmospheric at the start, with shimmering guitars and piano before melting into a soft tribal drum beat with a subtle harmonica and reverb-laden McCombs softly singing his sweet swirl.
"Dropping the Writ" is different, ambitious and beautiful.