I bought this to try something different, and it is certainly that. A real mix of Mariachi styled ,music indie and country. The singer has a great voice and there is a great mix of instrumental and songs on the album. I've only listened to it a couple of times but I keep coming back to it and since I got it I bought another album by the same band.
I don’t know enough to deeply analyse this or to discuss the relative merits of the album as part of their cannon but what I can say is I am listening to it right now and will come back to it again and again. Its unlike anything else in my collection.
These guys seem to have spent too long in Tequila bars south of the border, then drifted home and overdosed on Ennio Morricone and Clint Eastwood. Several of these songs come on like the synopsis of some dusty, languid movie set in a rattlesnake infested tumbleweed-town in New Mexico. Moody and atmospheric, but beautifully played with subtle tempo and timing. Outstanding from start to finish, barring the unfortunate jazz infection that is "Fade". Their "Black Light" album is every bit as good by the way.
It took a little blind faith to buy this. None of my friends had a copy, and short of walking up to people on the street and asking them to copy it for me, I grudgingly handed over the money for a copy. I was not pulling an unhappy face for long. From the minute I pressed play the album caught me and transported me out of my room into the desert sands of Calexico, where I have stayed smoking Lucky Strikes and drinking vast quantities of tequila ever since.
This album is fun, a little bit tongue in cheek and great to listen to. Its not at all what i expected, but i was pleasently surprised. It sounds like the soundtrack to a road movie, as you listen to it you can just imagine someone driving through the dusty deserts of arizona or nevada. The only problem with the album is that some of the songs are quite similar. But its still a great record.
Heard of these whilst seeing Flaming Lips at London's Festival Hall. Calexico mix tex-mex murder songs with a guitar flavoured excitiement. Imagine having to drag yourself accross the border with a girlfriend running away from murderous loan-sharks - this is the soundtrack to that chase. it also means you can think of "me-hi-co" whilst tubing it to north london on a wet July month. it is brilliant.
Is this the most accurately-named band in rock? The first two tracks of 'Hot Rail' land on opposite sides of the border and thereafter Calexico stick to these parameters without ever being formulaic. Though basically a duo, they use a large pool of musicians to create a wide array of musical combinations. My favourite tracks are the 'Untitled' tracks which read as 'The Man With No Name', eerie instrumentals full of tension which is loaded implausibly by accordion. The longest track, 'Fade', is an insidious song that rewards repeated playing. On songs like 'Service and Repair' Calexico show that they can write good quality mainstream songs too. The sound is refined on later albums such as 'Feast of Wire' but this is impressive in its own right.
Calexico are a wonderful band and this album is a perfect record which shows all of their talents. They transport you to a place that you've only experienced in movies provide a much needed escape from the mundane (for 45 mins or so). They're romantic, brooding, sexy, and seductive. Always is there a sense of urgency somewhere deep in the music which makes you feel like you're running from bandits...but you're too busy being coaxed with passion to care. A romantic, escapist journey.
Bought this purely because of the cover to find an unforgettable album. Full of luscious melodies with cool but slightly sugary vocals and odd bits of soundscapes that reminds you of Sunday mornings in the summer. I don't know much about the band but I can sing almost all of their songs for you. That's how good this is.