9 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming just six months after Wit’s End, it’s reasonable to approach Humor Risk as a response or companion piece to that prior album. Whatever dark clouds were following Cass McCombs during the creation of Wit’s End seem to have partially lifted, leaving him contemplating the power of levity as a self-preservation device. The lyrics, consistently witty and slyly humorous, remain self-referential but also open enough to let listeners relate to his stories of woe. The punchy rockers “Love Thine Enemy,” “Mystery Mail,” and the reverb-soaked “The Same Thing” share bitter life lessons in an upbeat way. But that’s not to say that Humor Risk is all sunny and bright. “To Every Man His Chimera” drags its feet like a funeral march, and “Robin Egg Blue” is a delicate, melancholy rumination set against a shimmering backdrop of sound. The final track, the strange and warbled “Mariah,” seems designed to leave listeners guessing; it also shows how good McCombs is at incorporating a wide range of songwriting influences. It’s this balance between light and dark that makes the album so appealing.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Coming just six months after Wit’s End, it’s reasonable to approach Humor Risk as a response or companion piece to that prior album. Whatever dark clouds were following Cass McCombs during the creation of Wit’s End seem to have partially lifted, leaving him contemplating the power of levity as a self-preservation device. The lyrics, consistently witty and slyly humorous, remain self-referential but also open enough to let listeners relate to his stories of woe. The punchy rockers “Love Thine Enemy,” “Mystery Mail,” and the reverb-soaked “The Same Thing” share bitter life lessons in an upbeat way. But that’s not to say that Humor Risk is all sunny and bright. “To Every Man His Chimera” drags its feet like a funeral march, and “Robin Egg Blue” is a delicate, melancholy rumination set against a shimmering backdrop of sound. The final track, the strange and warbled “Mariah,” seems designed to leave listeners guessing; it also shows how good McCombs is at incorporating a wide range of songwriting influences. It’s this balance between light and dark that makes the album so appealing.

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