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Album Review

The cover reads "OP8 featuring the ilk of Lisa Germano," and on the surface, Slush is simply a collaboration between Arizona's Giant Sand (aka OP8) and L.A.-based singer/songwriter (and part-time Eel) Germano. More than just a mostly successful merging of musical minds, the album also serves as a convenient — and accessible — introduction to the sometimes-more-difficult/darker work these artists have done elsewhere, as Giant Sand, Calexico, Howe Gelb solo, and of course, Germano solo. The concept works best when Gelb and Germano, both fine and distinctive singers in their own right, take over the vocal duties. When the more understated Joey Burns (Calexico) sings, however, as on "Lost in Space," the momentum falters a bit. Fortunately, such instances are rare. Germano's "If I Think of Love," for instance, is an especially pretty pop song (and considerably more upbeat than her usual neo-gothic fare), whereas the delirious cover of "Sand," which opens the recording, is so exquisite as to make up for the occasional dull or listless patch. Germano and Gelb are — or were, at any rate — the ideal postmodern Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. The dreamy version of Neil Young's "Round and Round," which brings things to a close, is also worthy of note. Sadly, Slush turned out to be a one-off project, much like Polly Jean Harvey and John Parish's Dance Hall at Louse Point, which was released the previous year. And that isn't as random a comparison as it may seem, since all of these artists (Gelb, Harvey, et al.) have collaborated with each other at one time or another. Well, one can always hope for a reunion of at least some of them. ~ Kathleen C. Fennessy, Rovi

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