With Perplexa, guitarist Schurgin (just one name, like Cher) veers confidently off the schizophrenic path cut by his former band Wig. But this new trio leaves more than space for commentary on why Wig, for all its shining moments, just didn't work. If Wig did suffer from a nagging inconsistency and a failure to successfully integrate its multiple musical personalities, then Perplexa has proven itself to be an enviable and "healthy" counterpart.

This Glorious Forward, the band's second album, is a coherent and intelligent effort. Mostly instrumental with sparse, maybe even cautious vocals (by Schurgin and bassist Jenny Schmid), its sound experiments are often inspired and always interesting. The album is atmospheric without vaporizing its own distinction or blurring the shifts in emotion. Perplexa manages all this and simplicity too. And not only in the music itself; just one of the eight track titles consists of more than one word. Sometimes this album sounds like the song of sea mammals lost out in the stars, but then "human voices wake us and ... ." Any record that can evoke the words of T.S. Eliot is okay by me.

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