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Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Giant Sand's Howe Gelb returns with his second solo album for Thrill Jockey. Recorded half in Denmark and half in his native Arizona, 'The Listener' features appearances by members of Calexico and Handsome Family.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. The combination of the two styles -- Gelb's newfound sense of stateliness and his traditional windburned sense of arrangement -- make for a new peak in his career.
  2. Mojo
    There's a moving intimacy and improvisational feel to the wistful, late night, piano songs. [Apr 2003, p.108]
  3. The Listener is ultimately such a strange record that it's hard to really classify; Giant Sand fans are going to love it, naturally (all twelve of them likely already own it), but people new to Gelb and his accomplices might be left scratching their heads.
  4. "The Listener" is a low-key, early morning album, perhaps something Lou Reed would have created had he spent his career playing saloons in Tucson, Ariz.
  5. The overall mood is casual, laidback, and relaxed.
  6. Too much of The Listener finds Gelb bridging his inspired moments with monotonous jazz piano and dusty crooning.
  7. The Wire
    It all sounds very loose and off the cuff, but any positive sense of spontaneity is sabotaged by a delivery so careless it borders on the sloppy. [#229, p.68]

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