Enterprising debut from lo-fi New York singer-songwriter

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Cas McCombs – Not The Way

Brooklyn singer-songwriter Cass McCombs purveys an affecting lo-fi Americana that has seen him compared to Will “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy” Oldham. Which is unsurprising?McCombs keeps his sound basic, his vocal thin and earnest, and gives his music a certain archaic flavour. Yet where Oldham’s music sounds like it exists only to make sense of the singer’s private universe, McCombs’ is a warmer, more open muse. Indeed, The Basement Tapes, Kiwi indie kids The Chills and The Clean are better reference points. The songs creak along, McCombs and band often sounding like they’re about to fall over (no surprises, then, that the most affecting tune is “Opium Flower”), and it’s all strangely engaging. Six tracks in 25 minutes?a truly minimalist debut.