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Howe / Mark Mulcahy : Confluence / SmileSunset

The wide open spaces and distant prairie howls of Tucson, Arizona have fired Howe Gelb's imagination for 18 years now...

(both Loose)





The wide open spaces and distant prairie howls of Tucson, Arizona have fired Howe Gelb's imagination for 18 years now. As the leader of Giant Sand, he's fashioned a distinct and remote American music that burns with emotional fire and is as informed by country music as it is by punk.





For this third solo foray, the multi-instrumentalist has broadened horizons, travelwise

at least, while remaining an existential dreamer. He is a detached man whose observations and eye for detail are fleshed out by an expressive baritone and a collection of desolate and sometimes mournful sound settings. Songs as open and yet regretful as 'Available Space' and the study of loss that is 'Saint Conformity' don't come around often. 8/10





The mid-'80s also washed ashore the Miracle Legion, a quartet who were at first perceived to be Connecticut's reply to REM. Mark Mulcahy, their main vocalist, has since got much stranger, and invited troublesome tonal comparisons with Tim Buckley, which will no doubt continue on this sophomore solo album.





In truth, his headspace is much darker, with a remembered Southern adolescence, and familial woes shading these introspective, devotional and

often attitudinal sketches from

a life. The singer-songwriter with

a sense of melody who inhabits 'Until I Say So' is also the paranoid, suicidal believer on

'I Hate To Needy Need You'. And he's out there on his own.



7/10





Dele Fadele

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