Pasa Tem­pos

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - 25 25 Mangy Love,

Mangy Love by Cass McCombs and 25 25 by Fac­tory Floor

No mu­si­cian sounds quite like Cass McCombs. His songs feel invertebrate, squig­gling around and cir­cling back to melodic touch­stones that bury them­selves deeper with each pass. His lyrics are puz­zle pieces that take dozens of lis­tens to de­ci­pher and don’t al­ways come to­gether to form the pic­ture you ex­pect. He re­leases mu­sic in large bursts, al­ter­nat­ing between dream­like sto­ries and direct sen­ti­ment. On he ad­dresses the trou­bles of our times in mostly oblique fash­ion. In “Op­po­site House,” he sings of be­ing trapped in a de­pressed mind­set by us­ing sur­re­al­is­tic im­agery of halls full of snakes and med­i­ta­tions on mag­nets while re­turn­ing to the phrase “rain in­side when it’s sunny out.” On the al­bum opener, “Bum Bum Bum,” he sings of racist con­gress­men and po­lice shoot­ings with lines such as “How long be­fore this river of blood con­geals?” while eas­ing the pain by gen­tly land­ing each stanza on the rhyth­mic phrase of the ti­tle. Lest the mood get too dark, he un­furls a song called “Laugh­ter Is the Best Medicine” over a bedrock of soul­ful mu­sic rem­i­nis­cent of Van Mor­ri­son. The Grate­ful Dead in­flu­ence creeps in here and there, as on the Jerry Gar­cia-es­que “Switch,” and like Gar­cia, McCombs lets his rich com­po­si­tions fol­low their own path, al­low­ing the words to grow into some­thing re­sem­bling folk­lore along the way. — Robert Ker

Af­ter just one al­bum — 2013’s self-ti­tled dance-funk work­out — Lon­don trio Fac­tory Floor has slimmed down to a duo. Per­haps re­lat­edly, their al­ready min­i­mal­ist com­po­si­tions be­came even more spare, and fea­tures sev­eral tracks that are pos­i­tively skele­tal. The songs of­ten con­sist of one war­bling elec­tronic squig­gle that serves as both the bass and the lead melody, along with a smat­ter­ing of live and pro­grammed per­cus­sion. On top of this foun­da­tion, the duo adds dub­like sound ef­fects and ab­stract, heav­ily re­ver­ber­at­ing dashes of vo­cals, none of which stay stag­nant for long. The ef­fect of these ad­di­tions is akin to driv­ing on a rainy night and pass­ing neon signs that ap­pear as blurs of color against your wind­shield, re­ced­ing in the dis­tance as quickly as they ar­rived. Some­times, the jux­ta­po­si­tion of sound ef­fects can be play­ful, as on the de­scend­ing bass line and call-and-re­sponse moans of “Re­lay.” This is still dance mu­sic, al­beit in an artis­tic fash­ion that of­ten re­calls the com­bi­na­tion of early rap and art school of the 1980s Talk­ing Heads spinoff band Tom Tom Club. The al­bum’s early sin­gles “Dial Me In” and “Ya” rely on a clear, steady pulse that the duo grad­u­ally tinkers with, sim­i­lar to the ap­proach of their more-bal­ly­hooed la­bel­mates LCD Soundsys­tem. — R.K.

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