(Our Soil, Our Strength)
The sheer joy that permeates this performance, recorded on
last year’s European tour in support of the brilliant Carried to Dust, is more than just infectious-it’s almost as
vibrantly felt as an actual trip to the southwestern expanse that spawned the Tucson band.
One can meditate upon the whole notion of cultural
ambassadors, but it’s unlikely that there have been any quite so effective of
late as Calexico, who here serve up everything from sparse, gentle country-folk
(“Bisbee Blue”) and vibraphone/mariachi-powered Latin rock (“Roka,” featuring
Spanish guests Amparo Sanchez of Amparanoia and Jairo Zavala of DePedro) to
soaring, anthemic pop (CTD standout
“Two Silver Trees”) and thrumming, electronica-tinged psychedelia (“Fractured
Air”). Throw in the band’s unexpected hit from a few years ago, a biting,
blazing, whooping, soaring cover of Love’s “Alone Again Or,” and you’ve got a
musical history lesson, travelogue and embassy offering all rolled into one.
Standout Tracks: “Two Silver Trees,” “Victor Jara’s Hands” FRED MILLS