Wit's End - Cass McCombs
Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Apr 18, 2011
    60
    [An] odd, somewhat bewildering, and perhaps hopefully transitional effort.
  2. McCombs would be better served rediscovering wit, rather than abandoning it, thus leaving the listener feeling abandoned as well. But, again, I guess that is the point.
  3. May 6, 2011
    81
    The core of his sadness may still be a mystery to me, but his monument to it, in all its eccentricity, is by far the hardest thing to ignore that he's done yet.
  4. 80
    The meandering phrasing alongside the slew of instruments all work together incredibly well, resulting in an album that certainly is no soundtrack to a sunny day but is perfectly suited to a contemplative night alone.
  5. 80
    If it doesn't put you to sleep, WIT'S END provides a rich and empathetic companion to loneliness.
  6. Sep 6, 2011
    80
    All of Cass McCombs' deliberate ambiguities add up to a beguiling character worth shouting about, even if he's not willing to do it himself. Give this album a spin and join its gently strident fan base.
  7. Apr 26, 2011
    80
    Wit's End stands to lose a lot by being judged on a song-by-song basis: there are standout moments, courtesy of ingenious arrangements and lovely melodies, but the album's shadowy guiding principle remains in my mind long after listening.
  8. May 16, 2011
    78
    The preambular Wit's End (hopefully he hasn't reached his) primes McCombs for the '10s with piano lamentations marking another well-paced (albeit drowsier) long-player.
  9. May 17, 2011
    80
    Far from the title's implied despair, Wit's End sounds more like home, sweet home. [May 2011, p.111]
  10. Apr 18, 2011
    80
    It will be intriguing to see where Cass McCombs goes next. A little more light and shade wouldn't go amiss, yet even his dark side is eminently loveable.
  11. 70
    No prizes for guessing who's been reading Guy Debord then, but it's these touches as well as his reverb-laden sound that makes him vaguely modern, unlike some folk artists who'd be happier pretending the 20th century never even happened.
  12. Jul 21, 2011
    60
    Despite the album title, there's an undercurrent of humour in these songs of loneliness, betrayal and death.
  13. Apr 22, 2011
    84
    So yeah, this record is a downer. But there's rare beauty in such darkness, too-- just look at forebears like Leonard Cohen, Elliott Smith, and Nick Drake. Or even Edgar Allan Poe. Because, along with its mopiness, WIT'S END is creepy as hell.
  14. May 2, 2011
    70
    It will make you work to get there with it, maybe more than you want to at times, but you can discover quite a bit while allowing yourself to get lost like this.
  15. Apr 29, 2011
    65
    We get to peer deep into McCombs's mind, but with the benefit of coming up for air once the record ends.
  16. May 17, 2011
    80
    Hard to get a handle, but easy to love. [May 2011, p.119]
  17. May 12, 2011
    50
    As it lilts and sways, you can't help but wish that McCombs would just snap out of it.
  18. Apr 18, 2011
    80
    Wit's End is even more hushed and sluggish than 2009's Catacombs, leaving lighter Dylanesque fare for depressive Leonard Cohen depths.
  19. Apr 26, 2011
    75
    Wit's End leans a little too heavily on dark-hearted dirges-most songs extend beyond the five-minute mark, and feel much longer-but McCombs allows occasional flickers of light to peek into the blackness, and they seem to shine all the brighter.
  20. 70
    He knows his 1970s AM-radio rock ballads, his English pastoral folk.
  21. Apr 28, 2011
    80
    McCombs is making music as if his soul depended on it. I'd listen to the sound of that struggle any day.
  22. Apr 21, 2011
    60
    Wit's end is so sparse and downbeat that it occasionally verges on the drab. [May 2011, p.91]
  23. Apr 29, 2011
    40
    Unafraid of bursting your bubble, Wit's End crawls and slithers slowly, touching upon the darkest of themes.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Apr 27, 2011
    10
    Lovely and quiet album with some intricate songs. Some people will miss a few upbeat tracks, but imho they would ruin the atmosphere of theLovely and quiet album with some intricate songs. Some people will miss a few upbeat tracks, but imho they would ruin the atmosphere of the album. I'll be listening this one for a long time. Full Review »
  2. May 1, 2011
    8
    Wit's End is a great record although it doesn't hold any tracks that Catacombs did have, the tracks that jump right off the headphones to you.Wit's End is a great record although it doesn't hold any tracks that Catacombs did have, the tracks that jump right off the headphones to you. "County Line" comes close but it is certainly no "Don't Vote" or "You Saved My Life". Besides that however, McCombs has made the best record of his career and at this point, I think he's successfully proven that now with this assortment of songs, he's simply making his music and you can't really compare him to anyone else anymore. I'm not so sure that could be said before Wit's End. Full Review »