Altamesa Album Review

Idol Frontier (Frontera Del Sueno)

Altamesa Album Review

Teased as a series of singles over the past year, Altamesa's sophomore full-length arrives as a revelation fulfilled. Whereas 2016 debut The Long Ride Home stretched time, Idol Frontier obsesses on space – landscapes expanding and contracting. The Southwest horns swerving opening opus "The New West" set a scene of desolation, looking at hinterlands not as possibility but rather as opportunity wasted ("The new West is a ghost town of dreams already dreamt"). Calexico hangs heavy in tone at the outset, with Evan Charles' sleepy vocals and Sean Faires' cinematic guitar licks sharing the same ambivalent desert explorations as Joey Burns and John Convertino. Reveling in a grander vision, Charles constructs a mythos of the modern frontier even as the 10 songs still stand strongly on their own. Melting melodies and easy hooks lace through the searching "Crooked Path" and throwback jangle of "Shadow on Your Heart." Tom Petty serves as Charles' other obvious touchstone, especially on heavier rockers like "Minor Vice" or the road-dogging "Troubadour's Pay (Shadow at Dusk)." Altamesa's Idol Frontier traffics in disillusionment, rusted shut with "Junkyard Chevy," but its expanding edges still call to the imagination.

****

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