Big Wheel and Others

Cass McCombs - Big Wheel and Others
Critic Score
Based on 17 reviews
2013 Ratings: #533 / 960
User Score
Based on 22 ratings
October 15, 2013 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
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Spanning 22 tracks and the great sprawl of a nation, Big Wheel and Others compiles more of these vital impressions than any of McCombs’ previous releases, documenting something so damned beautifully alive—so restless and sensual and swinging and true—the album accrues power by virtue of its breadth. 

The Fly

‘Big Wheel And Others’ is not to be consumed in one go – it’s a really long list of songs perhaps too lavish for that. But what richly rewarding, flourishing, beautiful songs they are.

Drowned in Sound

It’s a record to get lost in, and to find yourself in. And to put it as plainly as possible: it’s a record as emotionally and musically rewarding as anything Cass McCombs has ever released.

Consequence of Sound

This album is 85 minutes long. It will take a truly patient listener to not just sit through the album, but to parse McCombs’ language and internalize the spare arrangements.

The Line of Best Fit

It’s hardly a surprise that Big Wheel and Others is at its best when McCombs just keeps it simple with himself and his acoustic guitar, while the moments where he overreaches are the longer pieces without the focus found elsewhere. 


While those already enamored with McCombs' lyrical approach and subdued songwriting might find more of immediate value here than the uninitiated, there's a lot to sift through, even for fans, and it might be difficult to keep focus through the entire sometimes befuddling set.


Turn it off halfway through and it’s brilliant.


This latest effort is not without its merits but is fundamentally too long, whilst its interludes are a cheap, unnecessary annoyance. 

Double albums tend to split opinion; some people will argue without fail that these are exercises in indulgence and should be edited down into more consistent single disc releases while others love the freedom this format affords.

I nearly always identify with the latter opinion and find ‘Big Wheel & Others’ to be very much a case in point - sure the spoken word interludes add very little to my listening experience and some of the songs can be dismissed as pointless (‘It ... read more
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Year End Lists

#2/The Fly
#7/Q Magazine
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In Library (3)

Added on: August 22, 2013