Follow Us on Twitter

Calexico - Edge of the Sun (Review)

Calexico, Edge of the Sun

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

FOR the better part of two decades Calexico (aka Joey Burns & John Convertino and friends) have crossed musical barriers, embracing a multitude of styles, variety in instrumentation, and well-cultivated signature sounds.

Edge of the Sun, their ninth studio album, takes inspiration from a trip to a place surprisingly unexplored by the band before – Mexico City – and with the benefit of many friends and comrades to help guide the way.

It’s a typically vibrant collection of songs that embraces that sound of beyond the border as well as classic Americana. Hence, there’s a cinematic swagger at times that could provide the likes of Tarantino with plenty of fodder, as well as a classic sense of song-writing befitting artists as diverse as Johnny Cash and Los Lobos.

Hence, on a track like Miles From The Sea, there’s a country-rock vibe initially that builds into a beautiful crescendo of horns and strings. It’s a big, uplifting track befitting the kind of landscapes that doubtless inspired it and one that begs repeat listening.

More instantly Mexican-influenced are the likes of the instrumental Coyoacan, with its Mariachi-style guitars (think Rodrigo Y Gabriela contributing to the soundtrack of a movie like The Magnificent Seven), or the robust foot-stomper Cumbia De Donde, which immediately puts you into a celebratory mood.

There’s also the ability to deliver a rousing story, as in the breezy Beneath the City of Dreams, or a slower burning country-rocker, such as Woodshed Waltz.

But if the latter of those two tracks represents one of the more underwhelming listens, there’s still so much to enjoy. Moon Never Rises has an addictive central melody that combines Mexican rock and pop, World Undone boasts a moody, dusky quality that could work just as well as a Jose Gonzalez record, and Follow The River, the album closer, a smooth mix of country and rock that brings the album to a truly satisfying close.

Another highlight we forgot to mention, meanwhile, is Tapping The Line, with its insistent beat and gorgeous melodies. It’s evidence of the album at its most broadly accessible and a feel-good moment of genuine class.

Calexico’s Joey Burns says of the LP: “All in all, Edge of the Sun is about pushing through the blue to brighter days. Calexico has always had that element of hope, going back and forth between a positive outlook and embracing desperate or dark themes that I think we all share.”

It’s an apt description. Edge of the Sun is a ray of sunshine that transports the listener to a wonderfully vibrant musical landscape. It’s another stylish addition to a CV that is brimming with eclectic quality.

Download picks: Falling From The Sky, Tapping On The Line, Cumbia De Donde, Miles From The Sea, Coyoacan, Follow The River

Track listing:

  1. Falling from the Sky (With Ben Bridwell) (Band of Horses)
  2. Bullets & Rocks (With Sam Beam) (Iron & Wine)
  3. When the Angels Played (With Pieta Brown & Greg Leisz)
  4. Tapping On the Line (With Neko Case)
  5. Cumbia De Donde (With Amparo Sanchez)
  6. Miles from the Sea (With Gaby Moreno)
  7. Coyoacan
  8. Beneath the City of Dreams (With Gaby Moreno)
  9. Woodshed Waltz (With Greg Leisz)
  10. Moon Never Rises (With Carla Morrison)
  11. World Undone (With Takim)
  12. Follow the River (With Nick Urata) (Devotchka)