Calexico is comprised of two core members, Joey Burns and John Convertino. The band's name is a combination of CALifornia and mEXICO. "Feast of Wire" is undoubtedly their Calexico's most accomplished recording to date. It's a musical journey through the southwestern U.S. and south of the border.
This is NachoChez's review, which I have been wating for him to post here. He probably forgot about it, so here it is (It was in the Alt&Indie Suggest an album thread). I know some people have been wanting the review, so here you go. :)
Excellent band that OrbDragon got me into. No other band I've heard combines mariachi, folk, country, rock, and so many other things into one great style like this.
Sunken Waltz: One of my favorites on the album. It's got a really authentic Western feel. The vocals fit really well, the singer has a country-sounding voice but without an annoying Southern accent. Addictively catchy.
Quattro: Starts off with some interesting percussion, and gradually brings in the instruments which results in a cool-sounding effect. It's really relaxing; it works as background music but is also fine to listen to just because it's a good song. The instruments flow really well, and it sounds like there's a lot of them (there probably are).
Stucco: Twenty-second piano instrumental, nothing special.
Black Heart: Starts off slow and mellow, but is kind of tense-sounding, like it's going to explode into something any minute. It doesn't, but is still really haunting.
Pepita: This is the first "real" instrumental song on the album, and is great. It's got a typical eerie atmosphere with interesting guitar work.
Not Even Stevie Nicks...: This sounds kind of out of place, pretty much because it's very heavily Flaming Lips-influenced. The vocals are very Wayne Coyne-esque, the lyrics are strange, the drums are loud, simple, and powerful; and the whole thing basically sounds like something straight off of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. It's instrumentally minimal, based pretty much on an acoustic guitar and vocals, but still manages to be pretty powerful.
Close Behind: Back to the Western music. Another track full of out-of-the-ordinary and catchy instruments. Not a highlight, but it's no less good than the other songs.
Woven Birds: Starts off with jazzy drums and subtle vocals. Not one of my favorites on the album, but isn't bad for a low point,
The Book and the Canal: Another short piano(-based) instrumental, but this one is longer and more interesting.
Attack El Robot! Attack!: Starts off with some strange but semi-melodic mechanical noises. The mechanical noises stay as the rhythm of the song, but horns and other instruments gradually enter. Pretty good song; a standout for its strangeness.
Across the Wire: Starts out a little similar to Sunken Waltz. The lyrics are a little better, and this one is more uptempo. This one might be better of a song than Sunken Waltz, but I don't prefer it as much.
Dub Latina: Exactly what you'd think it might be; a dub-sounding song with Spanish guitar and percussion. Good, but nothing special.
Guero Canelo: Another Latin-sounding song, but this one sounds more authentic and doesn't have the Western infleunce. The distorted vocals fit strangely well with the clearer background vocals. I like it; it could be a cool music video.
Whipping the Horse's Eyes: A really mellow instrumental that starts out with just keyboard(?) and maracas. Nothing special.
Crumble: Starts off really jazzy, with great smooth drumming. Stays with the same feel throughout the song, but is never just a regular jazz song. At their loudest, the horns are reminiscent of a more tuneful, focused "National Anthem" by Radiohead. I'm not a huge jazz fan, but I liked this one.
No Doze: Starts off strange, with a few instruments playing around until they settle into their places when the vocals come in. Not a very eventful song, but works well as a closing track.
What's great about this is the fact that no song by itself represents the band; the versatility is amazing. A great album with a few minor flaws. A definite 8/10.
- NachoChez 2003
I agree with Nacho on the most part, but I would have given it a 4.5/5 (9/10). This an album any alternative music fan should own. Song list:
1. Sunken Waltz 5/5 (I must say that the accordian and a 3/4 rhythm are great)
2. Quattro (World Drifts In) 5/5 (Standout)
3. Stucco 3/5
4. Black Earth 4/5
5. Pepita 4.5/5
6. Not Even Stevie Nicks 5/5 (Standout)
7. Close Behind 4.5/5
8. Woven Birds 3.5/5
9. The Book And The Canal 4/5
10. Attack El Robot! Attack! 5/5 (Sounds like something from a Mexican sci-fi movie :lol: )
11. Across The Wire 5/5 (Standout)
12. Dub Latina 4.5/5
13. Guero Canelo 4.5/5
14. Whipping Horse's Eyes 4/5
15. Crumble 5/5 (Standout)
16. No Doze 3/5
There are the individual ratings for each song (Done by me, not Nacho). Although IMO, this album is a work of art that needs to be taken as a whole, not in snippets.
Why does Woven Birds get such a bad rap? That's probably my favorite song from the album. So beautifully understated, and I love the spacy vibe of the chorus.
For that matter, I think this whole album is overrated in comparison to older ones like The Black Light and Hot Rail. But seeing as how they both have more of that understated stuff, I'm probably in the minority on this also...