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Iron and Wine / Calexico:: In the Reins (Album Review)

Calexico and Iron and Wine’s collaborative EP begins in exactly the way you’d imagine it — as though Sam Beam has overdubbed himself onto Calexico’s last record, Feast Of Wire. It’s almost disappointing in its predictability. But that disappointment lasts only for a minute. Then the surprises start coming. The title track features a downright bizarre mariachi singer interlude. There’s a Stax-style horn section on “A History Of Lovers.” And “Burn That Broken Bed” has a psychedelic, double-tracked trumpet part that sounds eerily similar to something Miles Davis might have played sometime in the mid-70s. While In The Reins bears the unmistakable imprint of both Calexico and Iron and Wine, these collaborators don’t seem to be interested in playing it all that safe. Clocking in at just under a half hour, the main complaint to be made is that it’s all too brief. Let’s hope that this EP is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (Tyler Wilcox)