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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Exciting Concept Album
If you have never heard Calexico, don't worry: you *will* love them. Because how could anybody not? They encompass such a wide range of styles and always manage to produce songs that are both melodically beautiful, rhythmically stunning and generally quite amazing.

They do this on The Black Light. There are several story themes running through this album about...
Published on 28 Jan 2007 by another_dissatisfied_customer

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars For completeness' sake
Nice album, no doubt about it. Only, this one helped creating a genre that is now wide spread, so it doesn't sound as a discovery to me.

But surely beautiful, well done and relaxing.
Published on 11 July 2010 by Giorgio Maria Visimberga


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Exciting Concept Album, 28 Jan 2007
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
If you have never heard Calexico, don't worry: you *will* love them. Because how could anybody not? They encompass such a wide range of styles and always manage to produce songs that are both melodically beautiful, rhythmically stunning and generally quite amazing.

They do this on The Black Light. There are several story themes running through this album about two lovers (one of the lovers dies) and the album takes you on an adventure following through highs and lows, cities and mountains and the outbacks of America. If you want to relax in the warm evening sun, or to dance late into the night, or to take a drive somewhere in the rain, this album can, should and will be your soundtrack.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning CD, 7 Jun 2000
By 
Graeme Stewart "ShadowEye" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
I heard this CD as background music when I was round at a friend's house and was just enchanted by it. Are there a posse of bands out there in the wilderness making music like Calexico? I don't know, but this is a great album.
It's Ry Cooder meets Tom Waits meets a wandering band of mariachis in the desert, but the blend changes throughout the album: the dark guitar opens beautifully on "Gypsy's Curse" till the melody's taken on and up by the dreamy acordian; "Minas de Cobre" is pure mariachi brilliance, the chorusing trumpets blending with guitars and fabulous strings in music that should have been in a Sergio Leone film. The lyrics are dark and brooding - the chilling and desperate "Bloodflow", the empty waste of "The Ride (pt II)".
In fact the whole thing is cinematic in its evocativeness. Not to be missed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 7/10. Spaghetti westerns and pulp fiction, 8 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
Calexico's second album is a sprawling, doom-laden and cinematic work that draws heavily on latin jazz, mariachi, country and gypsy folk. Typically rich in the kind of malevolent desert imagery and border country narratives that suggest the novels of Cormac McCarthy, `Black Light' explores territory that is more fully realised in their later work, particularly `Feat of Wire'. Another widescreen production, Calexico are seemingly the natural heirs to Ennio Morricone's wild west atmospherics (check out `Minas De Cobre').

From the opener `Gypsy's Curse', `Black Light' is heavy on nocturnal ambience, rendered in sometimes lengthy instrumental passages, but is lighter on songwriting. Calexico have never been great songwriters, partly because their thematic concerns seem more theatrical than heartfelt. Joey Burns also has a rather mild voice that sometimes undermines, rather than strengthens the credibility of their image-rich soundscapes. That's not to say none of the vocal tracks work - not at all, `Where Water Flows' features a nice interplay between Burns' verses and a creepy plucked guitar melody augmented with xylophone. However, it is worth noting for newcomers to Calexico that Feast of Wire is their most fully realised work in terms of both songcraft and sonic experimentation.

`Black Light' suffers a bit when listened to as a whole as it's mood is so relentlessly stark; even dirge-like and funereal. From the whispered vocals and spidery formlessness of the title track, the middle section sags and causes the listener's attention to wander. While it is all quite cohesive, it rather lacks the surprises and jolting shifts of mood of later albums. Nevertheless, taken in isolation there are some fine instrumental works that would not look out of place on a David Lynch of Quentin Tarantino soundtrack (not least the surf guitar on the opening track). In other places the gypsy textures (e.g., `Sideshow') can come off a little gallic to the untrained ear - think `Amelie' - but that isn't necessarily a bad thing!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top 5 all time Americana CD, 8 Feb 2002
By 
Kevin G. Bell "KGB" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
This is one of the great Americana CDs of all time and probably the most underrated. The mood relates to the name of the band - California mixed with Mexico. Put it on and imagine you are out in a border town with a Mariachi band playing in a small bar and you get the feel of the record. Beautifully played with a mix of strings, horns and pedal steel and the tight rhythmn section of Convertino and Burns (Giant Sand. You will love it. Give it a try!!
KGB
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 7/10. Spaghetti westerns and pulp fiction, 8 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
Calexico's second album is a sprawling, doom-laden and cinematic work that draws heavily on latin jazz, mariachi, country and gypsy folk. Typically rich in the kind of malevolent desert imagery and border country narratives that suggest the novels of Cormac McCarthy, `Black Light' explores territory that is more fully realised in their later work, particularly `Feat of Wire'. Another widescreen production, Calexico are seemingly the natural heirs to Ennio Morricone's wild west atmospherics (check out `Minas De Cobre').

From the opener `Gypsy's Curse', `Black Light' is heavy on nocturnal ambience, rendered in sometimes lengthy instrumental passages, but is lighter on songwriting. Calexico have never been great songwriters, partly because their thematic concerns seem more theatrical than heartfelt. Joey Burns also has a rather mild voice that sometimes undermines, rather than strengthens the credibility of their image-rich soundscapes. That's not to say none of the vocal tracks work - not at all, `Where Water Flows' features a nice interplay between Burns' verses and a creepy plucked guitar melody augmented with xylophone. However, it is worth noting for newcomers to Calexico that Feast of Wire is their most fully realised work in terms of both songcraft and sonic experimentation.

`Black Light' suffers a bit when listened to as a whole as it's mood is so relentlessly stark; even dirge-like and funereal. From the whispered vocals and spidery formlessness of the title track, the middle section sags and causes the listener's attention to wander. While it is all quite cohesive, it rather lacks the surprises and jolting shifts of mood of later albums. Nevertheless, taken in isolation there are some fine instrumental works that would not look out of place on a David Lynch of Quentin Tarantino soundtrack (not least the surf guitar on the opening track). In other places the gypsy textures (e.g., `Sideshow') can come off a little gallic to the untrained ear - think `Amelie' - but that isn't necessarily a bad thing!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Harder to trim than I thought!, 24 July 2011
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
Having been recently filling up a large (but not large enough!) ipod I wacked this not often listened to album on expecting to find I'd whittle it down fairly easily, but no. I like it much more than when I bought it many years ago. Missing and bloodflow are awesome vocal numbers (despite the singers slight voice) and even the slightest instrumentals have their own particular vibe you just want to keep.
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3.0 out of 5 stars For completeness' sake, 11 July 2010
By 
Giorgio Maria Visimberga (Bari, Italy) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
Nice album, no doubt about it. Only, this one helped creating a genre that is now wide spread, so it doesn't sound as a discovery to me.

But surely beautiful, well done and relaxing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars latin and techno, bullfight-overtures and B-film music, 6 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Light (Audio CD)
A perfect mix of latin, techno, bullfight overtures and B-film-music trimmed with french accordion and filled with melancholy and humour.No dead centre. Parts of it makes me hit the roof. The buy of the year!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wonderful, 31 Oct 2001
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
This cd is wonderful, just as most calexico's works. The peaceful guitar melodies combined with some the other instruments give a fragrance of classic latin, resulting in an excellent background music. Nothing better for relaxation and calm thinking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Apes, 9 April 2009
This review is from: The Black Light (Audio CD)
This album is totally awesome, dude. Your ears catch waves on its majestic audio currents.
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