With 2006's 'Garden Ruin', Calexico dabbled in experimentation. Yet there was no use of samples, synthesisers or wacky, off-time beats on display; instead, the Tucson, Arizona-based band regressed to a more direct approach to music-making, forgoing their rootsy, border-town dustiness in favour of clear-cut indie-rock.
With their sixth studio album, however, fans will be glad to hear that the Joey Burns/John Convertino-led band have returned to their Mariachi-infused alt-country sound. Because let's face it; as one of the most successful proponents of the genre, Calexico know what they do, and know they do it well.
There are still some clever twists amidst the shadowy, textured dalliances that comprise 'Carried to Dust', though. Collaborations with Iron & Wine's Sam Beam (the loose, languid, summery swing of House of Valparaiso), Tortoise's Doug McCombs (woozy, hypnotic closer Contention City) and folk singer Pieta Brown (who duets with Burns on the measured country ballad Slowness) demonstrate that the ever-dynamic Calexico are still capable of producing the goods over twelve years into their career.
Other standouts on this warm, natural album include the poppy strum of Writer's Minor Holiday, the horn-infused Latino numbers Inspiracion and El Gatillo, and the evocative, burnished tenderness of Two Silver Trees - Burns's dulcet, whispered timbre giving extra body and sensitivity to each track. They may not exactly be re-inventing the wheel - but with 'Carried to Dust', Calexico ensure that their status as modest modern innovators of dusky, organic indie music remains securely intact.
Click here for an interview with Calexico's John Convertino.