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In preparation for settling down on the tube and digging into Cormac McCarthy again, I listened to Calexico’s Hot Rail on the stroll today. They’re one of those bands that I should like: a bit different, unusual influences, post-rock mariachi etc., but I think because they are so diverse, I’ve found it hard to get a real grip on them. Hot Rail commences with El Picador, as thrilling a slice of mariachi you’re likely to hear. Big pounding brushed drums, flamenco flourishes, bold, dramatic trumpet. A fantastic start to the album, and if it continued in this vein, all the better. That I’d listen to.

Next up, The Ballad of Cable Hogue sees the band treading territory that was carefully mined by Frank Black in his Catholic years. Excellent surf guitar reverberating throughout, but it’s let down by a fairly lacklustre vocal that surfaces throughout the record. Others vary again, post-rock noodlings here and there descend into jazz workouts. There’s insufficient focus.

Now, maybe I haven’t given Calexico a chance. Maybe if I listened to other material I’d find that bruising Mexicana, the scalding brasses, the arrogance of the wielded acoustic guitar. But, I’m not sure it’s worth my time, so I await correction.


2 Responses

  1. Calexico’s best album to date is Feast of Wire. Give it a listen – there’s not a bad song on it.

  2. Well maybe I shall. Thank you for responding with aforementioned correction!

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