Okay, last Calexico post for a while (and then it’s back to mis zapatos, right?).
After the concert, I finally acquired their new album, Carried to Dust. I have to admit I was a little skeptical, especially after the bomb of an album that was Garden Ruin (that album really had only ONE good song on it — Roka).
So I was rather surprised when I was told by one of my friends that there was a song on this new album that he wishes he would have written first. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt like that about a song, but I have been brought to tears by the beauty of a song once or twice that I can think of.
This song — The News About William — is at first a striking song with a lovely melody and instrumentals. I liked it immediately. But then I actually figured out the actual lyrics, and…holy cow! This song has a soul:
4 in the morning the sidewalk’s asleep
Dogs on the porch,
Spiders on the leaf
Shipwrecked by night sailing through days
Nobody noticed the slipping away
Connecting the dots with thorns in his side
Boarded up the Windows with pain and with pride
The music box broken that once was his soul
Its sad little song spinning out of control
Then came the storm that washed the roads out
Closed both his eyes and pointed straight south
Second line drums marched into the sea
While the clouds overhead cried “mutiny”
They parted for Cathy and her bitter news
As her words fail and the sky grew dim
Recalled how close to that exit l’ve been
Ours not to reply, ours not to reason why
The news about William
The lifeline retreats
Desire for release
The thorns in his side
Seriously, how is it possible to get through that song without breaking down?
Well, now that we’re getting over me being girly and weird about my music, let’s talk about the rest of the album. In my opinion, Carried to Dust is literally a sigh of relief for me. After Garden Ruin — a collection of pseudo-pop/easy listening and uninspired tunes — I was really worried that it was all downhill from here.
Calexico clearly hit their stride with the absolutely brilliant Feast of Wire, which is an amazingly cohesive album that fuses music inspired by the American Southwest and Mexico to create a sound that is literally the “theme tune” to the US-Mexico Border, addressing important issues that affect people on both sides.
Thankfully, Carried to Dust is a return to their alt-country/rock roots, with songs that are reminiscent of Feast of Wire and Hot Rail. There are a few Latin-inspired instrumental pieces, which are excellent transitions to songs about the Southwest, and songs that are infused with enchanting Spanish words. This time around, the band welcomes an addition from Spain, who adds even more texture to the songs’ vocals.
Overall, this really is an excellent album, and I am thrilled that I am not disappointed.