Tuscon requires patient listening, but aside from that one vital misstep [the song, Recovery Mission], the album keeps moving. It's combined a pleasing unpredictability with steadiness that supports Gelb's operatic vision.
Steel guitar, accordion, mariachi trumpet, lounge piano or a small string section are available as needed, but most of the music stays modest and intimate, staying out of the way of the graceful tunes and laconic thoughts.
This could be a rare Giant Sand LP that manages to be both sophisticated and sprawling. Overall, Tucson is destined to be labelled as a 'must-keep' for those struggling to house their vast Giant Howe collections.
It has the breadth, intelligence, mystery and ambitious arrangements of a major work. With 19 songs, it's maybe a touch too long, but almost every song is vivid in its poetry and instrumental coloration.