Pere Ubu St. Arkansas

More splendid avant-rock weirdness from David Thomas and his merry band of American art-punk pioneers. Back in the late 1970s and early '80s, Pere Ubu was so far ahead of its time that most who encountered this Cleveland band's trailblazing and often challenging music didn't know what to make of it. Twelve studio albums later, the unit hasn't changed its approach all that much, but the rest of the world has closed some ground. These ten tracks run the Ubu gamut, from creepy, brooding, dark and woeful to catchy and playful. Thomas's pen is as witty, sarcastic and poetic as ever, even when he rambles on here and there in seeming "stream of conscious" improvisational mode. At least a couple of tracks come off as half-finished snoozer candidates for revision ("Dark" and "Michele"), but that's art for you. (Spinart)