Local Wire


Despite the persistent hints of dread on Garden Ruin, Calexico manages its worried blues on these gracefully stripped-down acoustic numbers. After 10 years of sorting through multicultural influences, this Tucson collective has simplified its sound, allowing the occasional glockenspiel or Spanish lyric to gain a world-weary grandeur. Amidst the record's sweet melodies, singer Joey Burns modestly announces apocalyptic visions with a calm authority and a faint optimism that maybe doomsday can still be avoided. (Tellingly, the best song of a fine bunch is an ode to his lucky dime.) The tension between the breezy, folkish languor and the images of dangerous skies and omnipresent birds can be downright riveting, mirroring any sane person's attempt to rationalize the looming unease of our current global predicament. But when the band cranks the electric guitars on the politically minded closer, "All Systems Red," Burns finally unburdens himself of his bravely contained anxiety, and the release is cathartic.
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Tim Grierson
Contact: Tim Grierson