Wordy Baltimore weed Cass McCombs has a peculiar knack for vocal chameleon tricks. On PREfection, his 4AD debut, McCombs channels a slew of Brit brooders, from the Mozzer and Bernard Sumner to, uh, Paul McCartney, keening through a set of strangely soulful organ-driven indie rock. Although it's bogged down by self-consciously evasive lyrics (thankfully, nothing so nuts as the misguided AIDS In Africa, off McCombs's first full-length album), PREfection avoids the shoe-gazey slacker clichés you'd expect from a hoodie-sporting white-boy strummer. Instead, McCombs pulls off vintage Detroit soul shuffle on Subtraction, evil psychedelic riffage over the bluesy lurch of Multiple Suns and the best Smiths song never written with the gleaming Sacred Heart, which has Marr-worthy guitar hooks. The writerly pretentiousness grows corny, but McCombs's technical skill is impressive.