Calexico – Edge of the Sun (2015) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Calexico – Edge of the Sun (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 58:05 minutes | 1,19 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Booklet, Front Cover | © Anti, Inc.
Recorded by Chris Schultz at Wavelab Studio

Calexico is no stranger to negotiating borders. For the better part of two decades, eight albums, and countless trips around the globe, Joey Burns and John Convertino have crossed musical barriers with their band, embracing a multitude of diverse styles. For Edge of the Sun, the band’s keyboardist, Sergio Mendoza, stepped up to co-write and arrange certain songs, ultimately co-producing the album along with Burns, Convertino, and longtime associate Craig Schumacher: It was Mendoza who suggested that Calexico physically cross an actual border for a songwriting retreat to the historic Mexico City borough of Coyoacán. In view of the fresh creative perspective provided by the band’s journey to New Orleans to make its previous album, Algiers, Edge of the Sun’s Mexican origins would seem destined to have a major impact on the album. The writing here shows Burns and Convertino’s ongoing pursuit of the profound melody, creating music at once hauntingly accessible and rich in instrumental texture. With guests including Sam Beam of Iron and Wine, Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses, Nick Urata from Devotchka, Carla Morrison, Gaby Moreno, Amparo Sanchez, multi-instrumentalists from the Greek band Takim, as well as Neko Case, Edge of the Sun weaves a dense tapestry from its international roster. “Madrid, Nashville, Tucson, El Paso, Berlin; it’s an eclectic mix,” says Burns. “This album is about pushing through the blue to brighter days. Calexico has always had that element of hope, going back and forth between a positive outlook and embracing desperate or dark themes that I think we all share.”

Calexico have had a chiaroscuro career: after each of the band’s more somber efforts, they tend to return with something lighthearted. Such is the case with Edge of the Sun: arriving after Algiers’ journey into New Orleans noir, it feels like a working holiday — probably because it was close to one, with Joey Burns, John Convertino, and company spending ten days in Coyoacán, a Mexico City borough, for inspiration (later on, they recorded in Los Angeles and Athens, among other locales). Despite its Mexican beginnings, Edge of the Sun often tips toward Calexico’s affable Americana, with particular success on “Falling from the Sky”‘s tumbleweed pop and on the gently insistent “Tapping on the Line,” which is elevated by Neko Case’s clarion vocals. On these tracks, Edge of the Sun recalls Garden Ruin and Feast of Wire, although the latter album negotiated its sonic and emotional twists with more drama. It’s almost as though these songs are so sunwashed that they just can’t be truly dark, even when the band tries its hardest. “Beneath the City of Dreams,” a tale full of dealers and getaway cars, might have had more heft if it had appeared on Algiers or Carried to Dust, although Gaby Moreno’s cameos almost get it there; similarly, the “days of sorrow” referred to on “Moon Never Rises” feel distant, not recent. On the other hand, the gentle melancholy of “Follow the River” and the squinty-eyed, implosive “Bullets & Rocks” feel genuine. As always, Edge of the Sun is beautifully crafted, from the gorgeous arrangements and chord changes on “Coyoacán” and “Woodshed Waltz” to “Miles from the Sea”‘s poignant lyrics, which fall somewhere between a short story and a lullaby. Still, it’s hard to shake the feeling that this album is a little perfunctory compared to what came before it, and at times, it’s predictable: “When the Angels Played” is the kind of dusty, strummy song that sounds like it should have a harmonica solo — and sure enough, it does. It’s notable that Edge of the Sun’s brightest highlight is “Cumbia de Donde,” a celebration of the footloose life. As pleasant as the album is, this time it feels like Calexico are just passing through. –AllMusic Review by Heather Phares

1 Falling from the Sky 03:23
2 Bullets & Rocks 03:30
3 When The Angels Played 02:25
4 Tapping on the Line 03:28
5 Cumbia de Donde 03:09
6 Miles from the Sea 03:42
7 Coyoacan 03:03
8 Beneath the City of Dreams 02:35
9 Woodshed Waltz 03:29
10 Moon Never Rises 03:29
11 World Undone 04:29
12 Follow the River 03:55
13 Calavera 03:18
14 Roll Tango 03:19
15 Rosco y Pancetta 01:42
16 Volviendo 02:36
17 Esperanza 03:21
18 Let It Slip Away 03:12

Ryan Alfred – upright and electric bass, synth, ambient guitar, vocals
Joey Burns – vocals, guitars, banjo, piano, organ, harmonica, cello, congas, accordion, shaker, ukulele, bass
John Convertino – drums, percussion
Sergio Mendoza – mellotron strings, percussion, piano, organ, backing vocals, vibes, guitar, vihuela, accordion, ukulele
Paul Niehaus – pedal steel
Jacob Valenzuela – trumpet
Martin Wenk – trumpet, synth, vibes
Jairo Zavala – guitar, bass
Other musicians include:
Sam Beam – vocals on “Bullets and Rocks”
Ben Bridwell – vocals on “Falling from the Sky”
Pieta Brown – vocals on “When The Angels Played”
Neko Case – vocals on “Tapping on the Line”
Tom Hagerman – strings on “Miles from the Sea” and “Coyoacan”
Steff Koeppen – additional vocals on “Tapping on the Line”
Thomas Konstantinou of Takim – lute and bouzouki on “World Undone”
Greg Leisz – pedal steel on “When The Angels Played”, guitar on “Woodshed Waltz”
Yorgos Marinakis of Takim – traditional violin on “World Undone”
Gaby Moreno – vocals on “Miles from the Sea” and “Beneath the City of Dreams”
Carla Morrison – vocals on “Moon Never Rises”
Adrian Perez – jalisco harp on “Bullets and Rocks” and “Coyoacan”
Antonio Pro – guitarron on “Coyoacan”
Isaac Rodriguez – additional vocals on “Cumbia de Donde”
Amparo Sánchez – vocals on “Cumbia de Donde”
Chris Schultz – percussion on “Falling from the Sky”, additional vocals on “Cumbia de Donde”
Craig Schumacher – moog bass on “World Undone”
Nick Urata – vocals on “Follow the River”