Album: Giant Sand, Blurry Blue Mountain (Fire)

Slouching into his 50s, Giant Sand songwriter Howe Gelb sounds a tad circumspect about life in general on Blurry Blue Mountain.

Tracks like the hard-time blues "Brand New Swamp Thing" and the deconstructed piano-bar rumination "Time Flies" itch with uncertainty, while "Monk's Mountain" possesses the same sense of murmurous foreboding as "Smog". Gelb's voice approaches the baritone depths of Leonard Cohen in places, with the dry wit to match ("she had the eye to find the diamond in this lucky old chunk of coal"), while the judgments of "Love A Loser" and "Fields Of Green" reflect the generosity and intelligence we've come to expect. "They've been killing off my heroes since I was 17," he observes in the latter, before coming to the conclusion that listeners ought to "give your own heart a good listen". Wise words.

DOWNLOAD THIS Monk's Mountain; Chunk Of Coal; Fields Of Green