El Mirador (City Slang)
Calexico’s co-leaders Joey Burns and John Convertino have been serving up diasporic sounds from the borderland between the USA, Mexico and further south for over 20 years now; longevity that can mean their strengths as songwriters can sometimes be taken for granted.
While El Mirador isn’t the strongest effort this collective has ever put out, it does highlight what an interesting stew of influences they always manage to bring together in a way uniquely their own, from the mariachi stylings of The El Burro Song to the evocation of Havana nights on Liberada.
But mistaking this album for a shallow showcase of Latin American stylings would do it a disservice, as lyrically Burns and Convertino very much deliver. For example, Cumbia Peninsula takes to task increasingly familiar global behaviour: “It’s easy to look for an enemy outside yourself, pass the blame and pin it on somebody else … the truth is taken outside and beaten to a pulp.” Indeed.
words ADAM JONES
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