• Record Label: Domino
  • Release Date: Jul 7, 2009

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. McCombs still has an ear for language and roll-off-the-tongue singing. His voice coats the lyrics like thick warm caramel on this one. Though often obtuse and twisted, McCombs includes some straightforward lyrics, as well, with some political commentary to boot.
  2. Filter
    There's an underlying transcendence in McCombs' work that acts as pure poetry, but it also can come across as direct storytelling when taken at surface value. [Summer 2009, p.96]
  3. Despite the sparser arrangements and increased focus on direct lyricism, it's every bit as aurally hypnotic as his previous work. It seems like he realized there was someone he really did want to sing to.
  4. This is an album of long, mysterious love songs to get lost in for days--seek it out.
  5. Q Magazine
    Reflective, humourous and romantic, Catacombs is perfect for those long summer nights ahead. [Jul 2009, p.133]
  6. McCombs’s well-mannered missives certainly aren’t cheery, but they manage to stir up disarming warmth nonetheless.
  7. On Catacombs, as always, McCombs stands as an unfashionable maverick who plays on his own terms, and if that is not good enough for the mindless millions, then tough shit.
  8. Impressively, though, he advocates excavation of the subconscious by invading the listener’s own, using songs more indelible than the mind says they have any right to be.
  9. What’s left, then, is an album that’s overlong, but one that’s surprisingly easy to succumb to.
  10. While some fans of his early work may be left behind, most people who enjoy witty songs with tender emotion behind them will be satisfied with Catacombs and happy with the direction he's headed.
  11. Catacombs isn’t an exception to or refinement of what McCombs has done previously, just a soft demurral of the singer-songwriter career arc.
  12. While Eavesdropping On The Competition and Jonesy Boy won’t necessarily being appearing on any coffee tables in the near future, they don’t feel up to the standard of the other nine songs. This is a small complaint because when Catacombs works, it really works, and it mostly really works.
  13. McCombs keeps listeners at arm’s length with lyrics that would be insufferable were they not couched in such beautiful sounds.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Feb 23, 2011
    Love it! Everything about this album is magic and beautiful. I think it could have probably have a better production though. I like the way itLove it! Everything about this album is magic and beautiful. I think it could have probably have a better production though. I like the way it sounds naked and very minimal but I think it could have used some great string arrangements but that's only a detail... The songs are lovely. "You Saved My Life" gives me goose bump. A truly masterpiece of pop music. Full Review »