Here's Pitchfork on their new album Algiers, recorded in New Orleans but finding the band working in a familiar and rich vein.
On the other hand, if place defines Algiers as much as that album title signals, it must have done so in the creative process, as these songs never sound too far removed from Tucson or from the raft of Calexico's catalog. On one hand, there are no Mardi Gras trinkets on this album, no street bands or zydeco flourishes, no Quintron or Trombone Shorty or Dr. John, no hoodoo charms or Saints gear. Burns and Convertino went east to make another western record, one that even indulges Spanish-language lyrics and songs about sacrifices to Quetzalcoatl ("Puerto" may be the most overcooked thing Burns and Convertino have set to tape). Algiers sounds great, with a noticeable sensitivity to instrumental interplay and an emphasis on Burns' conspiratorial vocals, but the album is haunted by the missed opportunities to absorb the particulars of this neighborhood and reflect that in the music.