Edge Of The Sun
Calexico is very familiar with crossing borders and teetering on the edge of styles and sounds. So it’s no surprise that the overall theme of the Tucson, Arizona-bred band's new album, Edge Of The Sun, is about straddling places, both physical and spiritual, and journeying from one point to another. Edge Of The Sun, Calexico’s ninth studio album, might be their most expansive record to date.
Vocalist and guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino, who lead Calexico, first worked together when they were both members of Giant Sand with Howe Gelb. Over the years, after tenures in bands like Friends of Dean Martinez and Spoke (which became Calexico), Burns and Converntino tenaciously refined their approach. As Calexico, they've shaped a uniquely American rock band that marries alternative roots-rock and country music with Mexican, Latin American and Texan folk traditions, like mariachi, conjunto, cumbia and Tejano.
Edge Of The Sun comes nearly three full years after Algiers, an album which was largely created in New Orleans. This time, Burns and Convertino found their songwriting inspiration in the colorful streets of Coyoacán in Mexico City. During recording, Calexico fleshed out their multi-instrumentalist lineup with a bevy of guests, including Iron and Wine’s Sam Beam, Band of Horses lead singer Ben Bridwell, frequent collaborator Neko Case, Carla Morrison and Takim, a Greek folk group. Calexico has always collaborated with others, so bringing aboard friends was a natural thing for them to do.
The keyboard and brass-driven “Falling From The Sky” is a triumphant start to this musical journey. The Tejano instrumental “Coyoacán” celebrates Mexico and is a brilliant example of how Calexico is capable of embracing and absorbing many musical flavors. This characteristic gets explored further on “Beneath The City Of Dreams” which, along with the mysterious “Moon Never Rises," even incorporates a light reggae beat.
“When The Angels Played” draws on late '60s or early '70s Bob Dylan, as if an outtake from John Wesley Harding or Nashville Skyline. The ebullient and ethereal “Cumbia De Donde," featuring Mexican indie-pop artist Carla Morrison, is both unconventional and traditional in its execution. “World Undone," featuring Takim, is Calexico at its cinematic best.
On Edge Of The Sun's twelve distinctive and enlightened tracks, Calexico continues on its rich odyssey as rock and roll ambassadors, embracing different cultures and crossing a broad musical landscape. It's an exhilarating journey.
Preview songs and/or buy 'em (all purchases benefit WFUV):