Giant Sand's Howe Gelb is one loose and ready musician. The more relaxed the music becomes, the more intense he gets. Teaming up with his soon-to-be-wife Paula Jean Brown on guitar, Gelb rambles through songs that provide a country kick to the irreverent ways of '80s indie rock. Ballad of a Thin Line Man was GS's second album and it is clearly the sound of a freely constructed band breaking out any way it knows how. Bob Dylan's "All Around the Watchtower" is anarchic. Johnny Thunders' "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" is touching and begins as a barroom piano ballad before throwing the tune open to the band. The originals feature Gelb's everyman stoner flow. "Graveyard" is acoustic and off-balance. "Body of Water" chugs into a humid voodoo jungle that explodes in the chorus. "Last Legs" uses the piano as a desperate nightclub instrument as Gelb resembles a broken-hearted Paul Westerberg. The 25th Anniversary Edition adds "Reptillian," a tough, drum-fueled rocker.