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Calexico
Carried To Dust
Quarterstick Records
www.Calexico.com


It's simply common knowledge that Calexico is most probably the single greatest band to ever emerge from the deserts of Tucson, Arizona. While their predecessors and colleagues have made space rock, country music, old school emo, jangle pop and more, the band - formed around guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino - have long purveyed a smoky, Southwestern music with hints of noise and moments of border/Norteno music… but on their latest release, Carried To Dust, the band is centered squarely on the border flavor of their greatest works. The spaciness of their early albums is mostly gone, and the band seems to have finally fallen in step with their true purpose… Spanish-flavored Americana with tremendous amounts of soul and beauty.

The record begins with the beautiful shake of "Victor Jara's Hands", a song that brings out the Southwestern feel and really shines on Joey Burns' fantastic voice. Starting low and slow and then building into a modern samba, this song is the perfect opener for a great set of music. The first single from the record is "Two Silver Trees" and it is the kind of song that defines Calexico. Modern rock textures loosely weave their way through lazy Spanish rhythms as Joey Burns eerily sings the melody. The music is relaxed and smoky, presenting in aural ways what the best writers convey with words on paper and the finest films convey with light and color. Other songs, filled with nylon stringed guitars and brushed drums, touch on more border-themed music ("The News About William") or launch into full-blown Mexican flair ("Inspiracion") with trumpets playing and Spanish-sung lyrics. "Writer's Minor Holiday" is a seamless blending of the modern with the traditional, and may be one of Calexico's finest songs ever as it travels down a hazy, dark road colored with heavily rhythmic guitars, moving bass lines, and brilliant vocal melodies.

If there was ever the need for proof of Calexico's place in the modern pantheon of Americana then let Carried To Dust provide such proof. The album gathers together everything with which the band has experimented and built over the past five or so records and creates something inexplicably… Calexico. There are bits and pieces of things that can be classified, but this album is one of those rare gems that no longer begs comparison, but rather stands completely on its own - not only the scope of its own music, but in defining the artist that has created it.

Brilliance.

-Embo Blake

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