Calexico: Carried to Dust

Quarterstick
By ZETH LUNDY  |  September 2, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
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If Calexico’s previous album, 2006’s Garden Ruin, was the Tucson band’s rabbit hole into indie-popdom, then this one is where they retrace their steps to more familiar geography: cinematic evocations of dry-heat desert winds, whispered twilit narratives, and the melting-pot manner of a border town. The band bring the tang of that elsewhere pop back to Carried to Dust, however, planting big-hook sensibility and the willingness to evolve within its Southwestern mood pieces. “Victor Jara’s Hands” and “Two Silver Trees” catapult rousing choruses from atmospheric depths; “Fractured Air” boasts mariachi-cum-dub horns and a wah-wah guitar that caresses the backbone of the hip-grind rhythm. True to its title, Carried to Dust moves along with wraith-like grace, a haunting and beautiful drift of songs about codebreakers, gravebound ghosts, and stars that “shone in slowness.” Amparo Sanchez, Pieta Brown, and Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam guest, but it’s Calexico’s two core members, Joey Burns and John Convertino, who continue to impress as a Southwestern Wrecking Crew — Convertino with his fluttering snare play and anxious rim shots and Burns with his partiality to nylon-stringed guitars and his secretive vocal delivery.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , Sam Beam, Joey Burns, John Convertino,  More more >
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