Calexico, at least for me, has always been a bit hit or miss. Sometimes I’m blown away — that album they did with Iron & Wine remains one by which I am continually fascinated. At other times, they fall a bit flat; I never could get into Carried To Dust, for example. Within the first minute of “Epic”, the opening track off Calexico’s new LP, Algiers, I knew this one wouldn’t succumb to the fate of the latter.
Behind the consistent strum of an acoustic guitar is the standard orchestral folk elements we all have come to know from Calexico, but that strum… that strum! …it just makes the song. Mixed within is also a lead electric guitar, both dreamy and folky.
Then there are the vocals.
This continues in “Splitter” and “Para”, both of which you can hear below: great vocal hooks backed by plush instrumentation and simply great folk melodies. These two also make up the first pair of singles off Algiers.
Now, granted, I haven’t listened to Calexico’s entire collection of work; nor have I yet given my full attention to Algiers in its entirety. However, a few listens to “Epic” has made me second guess why this is (in both cases, but mostly the former), and has enticed me to do something about it.
Find Algiers on ANTI Records. Above photo by Wendy Lynch.