April 3 - 10, 1 9 9 7
[Music Reviews]
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*** OP8 featuring Lisa Germano


(Thirsty Ear)

On last year's Excerpts from a Love Circus (4AD), Lisa Germano mused ominously that "home is a couple of schizophrenics" (in "Beautiful Schizophrenic"). So it's fitting that she found temporary lodging for her talents with Tucson's infamously flaky, abstract expressionist rockers Giant Sand, rechristened for the purposes of this side project as OP8.

When he's at his most lucid, Giant Sandman Howe Gelb shares with Germano a penchant for marrying intensely stark and rustic folk-rock deconstructions to cryptic poetic introspection, so the two singer-songwriters have some fertile common ground. With John Convertino keeping time and Joey Burns on upright bass, they begin on the spaghetti-Western plains of Lee Hazlewood's cheesy duet "Sand." Germano handles Hazlewood's manly lines and Gelb croaks Nancy Sinatra's part, lending an amusing touch of gender bending to the proceedings. Gelb and Germano go back to playing their more familiar roles for the rest of the disc, but they both benefit from the collaboration, with Germano bringing some much-needed focus to Giant Sand's unraveled aesthetic, and the Sandmen encouraging Germano to be more playful.

-- Matt Ashare

(Lisa Germano plays next Friday, April 11, at the Paradise with Melissa Ferrick. Call 562-8800.)

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