\ Hip Displeasure: Hip-D Top 20 of 2006 » #10 » Calexico - "Garden Ruin"

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Hip-D Top 20 of 2006 » #10 » Calexico - "Garden Ruin"

Garden Ruin opens with "Cruel," a mid-tempo country rock number that sails along like a warm spring drive where maybe you've got a little something clouding your brain and your mind is starting to drift, right up until the 2:21 mark when "BAM" the mariachi horns kick in, and all of a sudden you press the accelerator a little harder, crank the volume a little louder, and move your seat up so you dont lose your concentration. It's like a call to worship at the church of Calexico, where style often battles substance, atmospherics often battle hooks, and frustratingly so, fragments and instrumentals often battle actual songs.

But less so, this time out.

The beauty of Garden Ruin is that Calexico seems dedicated this time out to making an entire album of pop-y songs that retain their trademark Southwest-flavored sound, yet avoid some of the more indulgent pitfalls that caused earlier records to meander and feel less than cohesive. The result is a brilliant collection of songs -- distinct, refreshing and (as always) well played -- from one of America's great musical treasures.

-- Yail Bloor

Yail Bloor's Favorite Track: "Bisbee Blue"

This album appeared on the following staffers's lists:

  • Yail Bloor (#3)
  • jasmine (#7)
  • Elvis Fu (#18)


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