Music » Critics' Picks

Giant Bear

9 p.m. Wednesday, February 6. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.

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Just when you think Americana might get sucked dry by anemic Nashville and Austin rejects and coffee-house politesse, the vast synthesizing power of roots music — and the equally wide inspiration of punk — collides in Giant Bear. The omnivorous Memphis quintet incorporates cello drone, mandolin trills, electric chime, pedal steel, baritone sax charts, and semi-occult story lines and melodies (all of which recall the Walkabouts and Lone Justice), even as it stumbles through orchestral maneuvers in the current indie dark. Giant Bear overcomes sonic schizophrenia with its country soul, but only if you define "country" as a space for adventure, and only if you define "soul" as a willingness to risk failure, song to song and sound to sound.

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