Album Reviews

Calexico – The Thread That Keeps Us – Album Review

Calexico – The Thread That Keeps Us – Album Review by Killian Laher

Calexico have been playing their own brand of what’s often described as Americana for twenty years.  On their ninth album however, Joey Burns and John Convertino seem to have tired of the formula which has brought them acclaim and fans.  Instead what we have is a 15 track album that’s all over the place stylistically.  It opens with a decent indie-rock track, the busy if a little cluttered End of the World With You.  Voices in the Field and Bridge to Nowhere hark back to the Tex-Mex influenced roots where they made their name, but unfortunately after this the album takes a nosedive.

The cod-reggae of Under the Wheels doesn’t suit them at all, it’s possibly the worst track they have put their name to.  Elsewhere Flores y Tamales is a little too cheesy, a kind of Spanish bandito-rock tune complete with mariachi horns.  It’s the type of thing they’ve done a lot better on previous albums.  The nervous, twitchy Another Space doesn’t work particularly well either.  Dead in the Water attempts Stones-y rock but misses the mark.

It’s not all bad, the mercifully understated The Town & Miss Lorraine and Eyes Wide Awake do work, in a Ryan Adams kind of way, while horn-dominated instrumental Unconditional Waltz succeeds by not trying too hard.

Calexico appear to have ditched what made them unique and with it, much of their charm.  Overall, the album is a bit of a mess, and would be a poor introduction to a talented band.  Time to go back to basics.

Track List –

1. End of the World With You
2. Voices in the Field
3. Bridge to Nowhere
4. Spinball
5. Under the Wheels
6. The Town & Miss Lorraine
7. Flores y Tarnales
8. Another Space
9. Unconditional Waltz
10. Girl in the Forest
11. Eyes Wide Awake
12. Dead in the Water
13. Shortboard
14. Thrown to the Wild
15. Music Box

End of the World With You

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Album Reviews, Header, Music

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