Having had the opportunity to see Calexico in Berlin two years ago when they were touring Algiers, I was very excited to have the chance to review their latest offering – Edge Of The Sun. This is album number nine from the Tucson, Arizona-based band and was recorded in Mexico as well as in their home Wavelab studio in Tucson.
The album features Calexico working with a number of collaborators so much so that nearly every song has a special guest on it. The opening track features Ben Bridewell (Band Of Horses) on backing vocals. It’s a catchy opening to an album which is their poppiest album to date. Despite the uplifting music the lyrics are not so bright – ‘Where you fall when you have nowhere to go?’
Sam Beam from Iron & Wine features on track two, Bullets & Rocks. It’s an atmospheric song that starts with an interesting crunchy guitar riff, threatens to build up into something else but remains restrained despite the heavy theme. The vocals of Joey Burns and Sam Beam combine almost seamlessly on this brooding song with little hope ‘The future’s built on bullets and rocks’.
Cumbia De Donde is one of the first songs the band used to preview the album. It’s more electronic but still maintains the Latin spirit the band have embraced regularly on other albums. It is sure to be a favourite at shows as it just calls out to be performed live. Coyoacán, no doubt inspired by their stay in the city of the same name, is a wonderful instrumental with brass section, wild-west guitar all coming after Joey Convertino’s simple but effective clicking opening.
Beneath The City Of Dreams, sees Calexico do what they do so well, produce incredibly catchy songs with substance. A high-pitched keyboard line starts off Moon Never Rises. Carla Morrison’s vocals are enchanting here. This is an introspective song but not without hope – ‘moon never rises / stars never shine / walking through the darkness until these days of sorrow pass on by.’ The penultimate tracks shows off John Convertino’s distinctive drumming and is a throwback to the band’s earlier work, more introspective and atmospheric work. The final track is a memorable way to sign off a fine album.
With Edge Of The Sun, Calexico have once again produced an intriguing mix of indie rock / pop / rock / Tex-Mex displaying their ability to traverse different genres. There are elements of old and new with the band revisiting the past while creating new sounds that should be exciting for all Calexico fans. I for sure am looking forward to seeing the band playing this album live.