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More desert songs from Americana legend
Colm O Hare, 05 Jul 2012
No, that isn’t a typo – an extra “Giant” has indeed been added to the moniker of Howe Gelb’s long-running roots collective (apparently the band has almost doubled in size to 12 and counting, since their last outing). For all that, the extra bodies onboard haven’t changed his sonic approach: this “country rock opera” named after his Arizona hometown features his trademarked reverb-ed twangy guitars and echo-laden vocals, with sundry Mexican border embellishments, including Mariachi horns and strings.
At over 70 minutes, it’s a tad long but there are enough highlights to make it worthwhile, including the post-modern Johnny Cash-ism, on ‘Thing Like That’, the sublime ‘Wind Blown Waltz’ and the dusty, languid atmospherics of ‘Plane of Existence’. Occasionally he wanders into weirder Jim White style gothic imagery as on ‘Undiscovered Country’. But mostly this is the Giant Sand we’ve come to know and love.