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Caliexco:: Garden Ruin (Album Review)

The contributions that the Calexico rhythm section of Joey Burns and John Convertino have made to their musician acquaintances are well documented, but it’s been harder to see what affect those collaborations have had on Calexico’s sound. Until now, perhaps, with Garden Ruin, on which Burns and Convertino take a tip from Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam and Neko Case to develop a unique sound profile not bound by conventional genre classifications. So they’ve boldly cast off the Morricone-esque twangscapes and mariachi horn riffing that’s become both a hallmark and a sonic straitjacket and come up with a whole new way of getting down. Many of the familiar signifiers are gone, yet their well crafted and characteristically tuneful compostions still have a recognizable Calexico feel, which won’t change as long as Burns is singing and Convertino is setting the mood with his drumsticks.
(Tim Perlich)