In some ways "Apocalypse" is less accessible than a few of his other
albums. For most parts it's a stripped down affair, it's occasionally
distorted, and the arrangements are not as gorgeous as those on his
last release "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" or "A River Ain't
Much To Love", but after a few listens it grows on you, and I think
this holds togheter really well as an album.
A couple of the songs are jazzier than anything he has done before,
for instance "Universal Applicant" and "Bee's", with the flute parts.
Others have those surprising and unusual transitions that Callahan
handles so well; a small change of tempo, an unexpected twist,
a sigh, a whisper,"a couple of hoots, a hello and a f##k all y'all"!
He is one of very few artists that can make something quiet hit
hard, and make sparse arrangements sound like a full orchestra.
"Drover" is one of the standouts, it's the sound of the west
with an acoustic strum and climbing strings. This is a terrain
Calexico has visited a few times, but the prairie has never felt
this close. Nature, as on many of his greatest albums and songs,
is a felt presence on "Apocalypse"; rivers, deserts, horses,
cattle, valleys and mountains.
And as usual he delivers some incredibly clever and funny one
liners, among the grievous parts and the poetry.
The album closer, "One Fine Morning", is a STUNNING song.
One of the most hypnotic and beautiful things he has done.
Togheter with "Baby's Breath", "Riding For The Feeling", "America!"
and "Drover", it stands as the albums finest moment, and if there
ever was a funeral song, you won't find better opening lines than
"One fine morning I'm going to ride out,
just me and the skeleton crew..."