Calexico: Edge of the Sun

Calexico Edge of the SunCalexico
Edge of the Sun
(Anti Records)

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As a band, Calexico has always excelled at two things: capturing the sound of the Southwest, and embracing collaboration with a bevy of talented artists. Edge of the Sun doesn’t cover much new ground, but when a band is this unique, that’s a good thing.

It would be tempting to list every star appearing on this record, but there simply isn’t space for it. As far as highlights go, familiar collaborator Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) lends his voice to “Bullets & Rocks,” while Neko Case is restrained as a foil on the subdued “Tapping on the Line.” Carla Morrison trades off vocals on “Moon Never Rises,” a tragic tale of heartbreak that evokes the bare landscape of the desert.

Calexico songs tend to skew toward semi-acoustic, soulful balances with strong imagery, but “Cumbia de Donde” embraces Latin flare. Gorgeous instrumental “Coyoacán” goes even further, employing a spaghetti Western sound that seems timeless. These threads appear on other songs as well, sometimes in a pedal steel or a trumpet.

Each time I put on a new Calexico album, I’m impressed by how they are at once recognizable even as other singers take the lead. Edge of the Sun is a lovely slice of the desert and another triumph from a spectacular group.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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