Unlike the ever-experimenting Lambchop, to whom they are often compared, Calexico stick to their niche. Since Calexico don’t spring as many stylistic surprises on us as the sprawling Nashville ensemble, their track record is also less erratic. While Feast of Wireis a bit quieter than its three full-length predecessors, it also fits neatly into an ever-impressive body of work. John Convertino and Joey Burns–the Tucson band’s core–only confirm their status as folk storytellers, their songs as irreducibly American as Cormac McCarthy novels, and their trademark Southwestern, sun-baked Ennio Morricone sound continues to be ambitiously timeless. “Black Heart,” for instance, begins like a Portishead outtake before swelling majestically. Even when they shuffle styles (“Close Behind” marries ’60s western grace with assured melodic chops, and “Attack El Robot! Attack!” goes off in an almost Devo-like direction before smoothly segueing into the full-on mariachi extravaganza of “Across the Wire”), they retain an immediately identifiable personality. Calexico may not make headlines, but this album solidifies their standing as one of the most endearingly idiosyncratic bands on the American scene. –Elisabeth Vincentelli
Reissue, 180gr.
2013 Quarterstick Records und exclusive license to City Slang.
(City Slang/2013)