Album review: Howe Gelb, The Coincidentalist (New West)


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The Independent Culture

After last year's overblown Tucson: A Country Rock Opera, it's a relief to find Howe Gelb back in windblown, speculative territory. The Coincidentalist is a set of relaxed songs in stylings ranging from the Monk-ish piano of "Instigated Chimes" to the lilting, Cohen-esque "Left of Center" and the indefinable "Unforgivable". With M Ward on guitar, Giant Sand's Thøger Tetens Lund on string bass, and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley on brushed drums, the atmosphere is akin to a shabby cabaret, to which KT Tunstall and a sweet-voiced Bonnie "Prince" Billy add a touch of elegance in the duets "The 3 Deaths of Lucky" and "Vortexas" respectively, the latter an engaging foray into Gelb's enigmatic desert consciousness.

Download: Vortexas; Left of Center; The 3 Deaths of Lucky; Unforgivable