Review: Calexico – “Garden Ruin”

What you’ve heard is probably true.

The desert-dwelling, Joey Burns/John Convertino-led ensemble expands on the more “commercially accessible” elements of 2003’s Feast of Wire with a largely acoustic, 11-track disc that resonates with all the emotion — though not all the eclectic, diamond-in-the-rough charm — of its predecessors.

Some have laid blame at the feet of producer J.D. Foster, who previously sculpted Richard Buckner’s major-label offerings. Butblame’s a harsh word. Under Foster’s watch, Burns and Convertino surely have smoothed over the rough edges and Giant Sand-style patchwork of their earlier full-lengths.

But the results still sing, especially on “Cruel” or “Lucky Dime,” the sensual “Roka” and the epic-with-a-capital-E “All Systems Red.” – Linoleum, June 2006

About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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