RECORDS / New Releases: Uncle Tupelo: Anodyne (Sire, CD/LP/tape)

The country-rock revival continues apace, a phenomenon all the more delightful for having no obvious explanation. The title of this Illinois trio's excellent fourth album might seem to court disaster, but this is Anodyne in its original sense, meaning restorative and capable of relieving distress. Like the Lemonheads, Uncle Tupelo have gravitated from noise to melody, but they've gone further into country. Their music embraces traditional instruments, but draws the line at old-time sentimentality. 'There's a guitar leaning on a Marshall stack,' sings tough-voiced Jeff Tweedy. 'It used to sound like the sun on the horizon; now I think we've been had.'