Calexico – Feast Of Wire

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Album Review by Michael Fawley

Calexico, named after a Californian border town, are a throng of multi-instrumentalists from Tucson, Arizona, centred around vocalist Joey Burns and percussionist John Convertino. Universally acclaimed, their vaguely defined alt. country music is an eclectic bonanza incorporating jazz, funk, rock, country and Latino.

A follow-up to their 2000 offering, THE HOT RAIL, the new FEAST OF WIRE is indeed a veritable feast focussing mainly on Mexicana. An evocative blend of horns and guitars, the tracks are all short and snappy, some with vocals, some instrumental, which all creates the aural illusion of a Western soundtrack.

Album opener, SUNKEN WALTZ, is a marching ballad which sets the dusty desert scene, followed by the speedier strumming of QUATTRO (WORLD DRIFTS IN). The likeable new single, NOT EVEN STEVIE NICKS…, is followed by one of a couple of instrumentals, CLOSE BEHIND, all shuffling rhythms and pedal steel whine. One song, BLACK HEART, could even be mistaken for a PORTISHEAD number with its swirling strings and dreamy trip-hop style beat.

All the while, the amazing musical talent of frontman Joey Burns is consistently displayed through a plethora of instruments: guitar, banjo, synthesizer, accordion and melodica to name but a few. His vocals are very light but fit in well with the airy vistas surrounding them. Convertino’s percussion is accomplished throughout.

FEAST OF WIRE is a well-crafted and cohesive piece of work that will be lapped up by hungry fans and a rare treat for those not acquainted with the band’s talents.

4 stars