GRIM FANDANGO: Birthmark Blues: CD

Grim Fandango’s sound is a bit hard to pin down, and, to their credit, their music really defies easy categorization. For the most part, it has (in my mind) heaping helpings of late ‘80s Minneapolis sound that’s been filtered through the funnel of ‘90s harder-edged emo bands. But then there are these nice noodly bits on the guitar that sound like the Minutemen playing new wave classics. And through it all, the record has the herky-jerky movement of a manual clutch car being driven by a novice, but in a good way—the songs lurch back and forth pleasingly and then smooth out and pick up speed once the clutch gets popped on the chorus. This would be a great record to pop into the disc changer on random with the Pixies and the good Replacements records.

 –Eric Carlson (Poison City)