Giant Sand proVISIONS

Giant Sand proVISIONS
While Howe Gelb has admitted that the success of former protégés Calexico has partially diminished the legend that Giant Sand have cultivated since the mid-’80s, it hasn’t prevented Gelb from continuing to push his trademark cinematic desert country punk to new extremes. This approach has led to a highly inconsistent catalogue but on proVISIONS, the first Giant Sand album since 2004’s Is All Over The Map, Gelb has crafted a majestic and mesmerizing 13-song suite that easily stands up next to his best work. The odd thing is that much of the album was recorded with a Danish band on their home turf, although Neko Case and M. Ward make notable contributions. The main focus seems to be the conflict between hope and despair in many of Gelb’s lyrics, best shown in the hushed, chilling piano ballad "Spiral.” The question of which side will ultimately prevail thus hinges on the mood of the music and for the most part, that mood is uplifting in typically quirky Giant Sand style. proVISIONS has all the earmarks of the band’s vintage sound, with Gelb in full command of his poetic powers, adding up to a stunning return to form. (Yep Roc)