Calexico

Garden Ruin (Quarterstick)

Phases and Stages

Calexico

Garden Ruin (Quarterstick)

Calexico's most political album is also their most populist. The seventh release from this Tucson-based collective, guided by multi-instrumentalists Joey Burns and John Convertino, pulls back on the twangy mariachi and Southwest gypsy of 2004's Convict Pool EP in favor of more pop, more rock, and more major keys. While Calexico probably won't be playing Republican fundraisers anytime soon, you won't hear Joey Burns sing, "Bush is a punk ass chump!" either, and yet "Deep Down" and the epic closer "All Systems Red" leave no doubt about the reading of their political compass. Meantime, "Deep Down" could be the sonic cousin of a B-side from U2's Joshua Tree, while "Lucky Dime" doubles as a castoff from the Beatles' Let It Be sessions. Flattering comparisons, sure, but fans of Calexico's darker, rougher, and more cinematic work will pine for just that, even though the band's clearly evolving on Garden Ruin. Hardcore fans would be happy if the band left a fart on their answering machine, so they'll get their fix here, but it remains to be seen if bigger and poppier serves Calexico, flatulence notwithstanding. (Calexico plays a free acoustic set at Emo's, Saturday, April 15.)

**

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