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David Grubbs | Rickets & Scurvy (FatCat)
With Jim O'Rourke as Garfunkel to David Grubbs' Simon, Gastr del Sol wove their experimental way through the '90s, never shying away from a melody. With both 'The Thicket' (1998) and 'The Spectrum Between' (2000), Grubbs proved with not much else than his acoustic guitar and soothing voice that he still has a knack for a good tune and interesting things to say. 'Rickets & Scurvy' follows in a similar vein, yet more so. Sure, he's been very prolific of late with full lengths and EPs where he's indulged his experimental urges for a variety of labels, but 'Rickets...' is where he ought to make his home. Matmos offers surprisingly effective and crucially understated electronics to the proceedings while John McEntire again provides his trademark percussion. In a voice that often resembles Mark Kozelek's, Grubbs twists and turns his way through his folksy tunes with very little fuss, creating magic moments again and again with his intelligent lyrics often to the fore. Standout tracks are Don't Think, The Nearer By And By and Pinned To The Spot, ''When the music started / when the freaking began / when everyone was so happy to be there / it took me away''. His kind of freewheeling psychedelia both in words and sounds might not endear him to all, but as long as he's able to protect his little corner so brilliantly, so consistently, the rest of us can sleep easy.

Torbjørn Wickman
August 2002