Picks and Pans Review: Glum

updated 09/05/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/05/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Giant Sand

Don't be put off by the wet-blanket title. There's plenty of pleasure to be had from Glum, the latest album by Tucson-based songwriter Howe Gelb, who, in the past decade, has put out more than a dozen records—with a shifting roster of musicians—under the rubric Giant Sand. On the title track and the irresistible "Yer Ropes," which feature Gelb's Lou Reed-y voice, seductive rhythms and raucous bursts of distorted guitar, the album gloriously tests the limits of rock and roll. Other cuts, such as "Painted Bird," venture a little too far, with fragments of melodies lazily drifting through noisy feedback. Alternately inspired and self-indulgent, Glum is another of Giant Sand's brilliant shrugs. (Imago)

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