4AD - 2004 - 46 minutes

Some records just work brilliantly as the soundtrack to travel. You hear them, dream, want to stick some things in a bag and just go. And Cass McCombs' deserves a trip all its own - somewhere off the beaten track with preferably a train ride along the way to keep the time with the drums.

It sounds like it was recorded in a big warehouse but still manages to be beautifully intimate as McCombs drawls his way through the poignant, the dark and the humorous.

'A' and its creator are in no rush to get anywhere, but as one of the most intriguing singer-songwriters to emerge from America in ages, it'll be interesting to see how long that lasts. It seems there's also another album to be recorded before the end of the year. Only three months in and you could be already counting the days.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: I Went to the Hospital - Bobby, King of Boys Town - What Isn't Nature - AIDS in Africa - A Comedian Is Someone who Tells Jokes - Gee, It's Good to Be Back Home - Meet Me Here at Dawn - When The Bible Was Wrote - My Pilgrim Dear - Bedding Down Post-Xmastime - My Master