Algiers (Deluxe Edition)

Algiers (Deluxe Edition)

Calexico takes its Great American Southwest sound to New Orleans for Algiers, an album that's among the strongest of the duo's long, illustrious career. Joey Burns and John Covertino initially intended to record the album in Europe, but settled on America's most European city. The band still manages to ignore whatever you might imagine a trip to the Big Easy would do to its music. Instead, Calexico focuses on songwriting, bursting past its usual aural soundscapes to a sound where the hooks are aplenty and the playing is live and excited. "Epic" and "Splitter" immediately establish the band's fresh enthusiasm. "Sinner in the Sea" works a more familiar Calexico voicing, while "Fortune Teller" excels with the grit of its best work, yet with new energy. Sure, "Para" and the title track also come close to Calexico's vintage sound, and "Hush" is reminiscent of its work with Iron & Wine, but the melodies just explode. The duo has clearly decided to seek new ground and has done so with convincing authority. The album's deluxe edition includes three bonus tracks, including the more conventional (for Calexico) "Mi Maquina" and the countrified "Ghost of a River."

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