The Thread That Keeps Us


Feb 23, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

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Overconsumption of information has lead to infinite narratives that will never be tied together. A belief in obscurity eliminates anxiety, for relevance is no longer a priority. Calexico lurches toward this new definition of freedom in nothingness on their nineth studio album The Thread That Keeps Us. There is a great irony in this title, best exemplified in their continued stories of despair and overcoming woven into moments of expansive beauty and crippling chaos.

Chief instrumentalist and songwriter Joey Burns sounds steadied in the midst of unsteadied moments mercifully mended in rich melodicism. "Thrown to the Wild" expels its character from the place he once resided in. "Almost waiting like a motherless child" for a bus to lead him away from his hopeless circumstances. Gracefully articulated while surrounded by healthy doses of reverb, subtle flairs of noise, and beautifully crooned harmonies that possesses the song's outro, it serves as The Thread That Keeps Us' central focus.

Opening with guitar histrionics reminiscent of U2's Unforgettable Fire-era, "End of the World with You" prepares the listener for chances taken by Calexico with the express purpose of underscoring the band's current mood during these tumultuous times. Less poignant than Edge of the Sun, but more pointed and direct in its message of hope embedded in the countless layers of uncertainty, the band reaches past its previous efforts without trepidation. "Eyes Wide Awake" opens discordantly, finding its voice hiding in the haunted confines in ballad-structured brilliance.

The fusion of Tex-Mex and Americana does not entirely disappear on The Thread That Keeps Us. Certainly, "Under the Wheels" begins with an electro beat reminiscent of classic house music; yet, tracks such as "The Town and Miss Lorraine" and "Flores y Tamales" remind those most familiar with the band's history that they find comfort in their nuanced reputation. And there is comfort for fans of Calexico that their newest effort is not a departure, but an expanded inclusion of musical styles added to their all-too wide palette of sound. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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