Calexico: The Thread That Keeps Us review – losing their USP

Fri, Jan 19, 2018, 05:00


The Thread That Keep Us


City Slang


What keeps bands together? When the fun stops, do they? Most combos, even those touched by success, burn out – some to return years later for pension tours or to rekindle old glory. There are exceptions, of course, such as Calexico. This is the ninth studio album by the band from Tucson, Arizona, but core members Joey Burns and John Convertino have managed to avoid redundancy by using new musicians to build on the border blend of Mexican and American influences.

The downside of this continued infusion of new ideas is dilution of their original sound. Strong as many of these 15 tracks are, such as the opening End of the World With You, the urgent Bridge to Nowhere and the throbbing Eyes Wide Awake, they lack Calexico’s early distinctive cultural stamp; they could be any decent indie band. There is also the odd filler, such as the repetitive funk of Another Space. On the credit side, however, are the more recognisably Calexican Flores y Tamales, Voices in the Field – a passionate song about refugees – The Town and Miss Lorraine, Under the Wheels, the serene Girl in the Forest, Thrown to the Wild and a couple of equally mood-filled instrumentals.