Will Hermes
February 13, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Valley of the Giants

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

Broken Social Scene’s ”You Forgot It in People” was one of last year’s slept-on indie-pop gems. So was ”Heart” by Stars, another Canadian group with ties to the multifaceted Scene. The Giants is yet another related project, though with a haunted country & western spin. Apparently it was inspired by sitting around a snowed-in farmhouse watching Yul Brynner play a psycho-robot cowboy in the cheesy ’70s flick ”Westworld.” And it sounds like it — although its faintly Arabic fiddle drones, dreamy mariachi horns, and occasionally snarling guitars make a cooler soundtrack than the movie ever deserved. THE AMBIENT ROOM Richard Pinhas’ ”Tranzition” (Cuneiform) is ambient rock in a similar vein, recalling those old Robert Fripp/Brian Eno records, but with more kick in its guitar-spiraling step.

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