Thursday, February 20, 2003

Review - Feast of Wire

Artist: Calexico

Posted on Thu, Feb 20, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Feast of Wire
Label: Quarterstick
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Feast of Wire

Just like its waffling name, Calexico straddles the border between American and Mexican influence. And it's telling that in its name, the American part comes first because in this new release "Feast of Wire," Calexico blatantly bastardizes the indigenous music of Mexico, exhausting it into the aural equivalent of a Taco Bell. The first seven songs, while trying hard to sound exotic and inventive, instead sound like tired, soulless remakes of spaghetti-Western leftovers. Some of the studied instrumentation is interesting, such as the fluttering accordion and trumpet accents of "Sunken Waltz" and "Black Heart." But it's only when songwriters Joey Burns and John Convertino explore their American jazz roots -- from the song "Woven Birds" and continuing on -- that "Feast" keeps from turning the stomach. But by this time, the album is so astray in Southwestern spaciousness and mariachi mediocrity that the songs sound contrived and compensatory. Quarterstick would do well to take a cue from our beloved NAFTA treaty and hire some cheaper labor from Mexico for the next Calexico record. They'd do a better job than these gringos.

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