Calexico – The Thread That Keeps Us

Calixco's ninth studio album, The Thread That Keeps Us, is uneven but it's worth panning for the gold

Album Review by Pete Wild | 17 Jan 2018
Album title: The Thread That Keeps Us
Artist: Calexico
Label: City Slang
Release date: 19 Jan

Outside of the 1%, there can’t be many people saying we’re living in a golden age. Any band worth their mettle would do their best to reflect what’s going on – and Calexico certainly try to on The Thread That Keeps Us, their ninth studio album.

Sometimes this means we get songs from the mellower end of the spectrum like Girl in the Forest and Thrown to the Wild, which creep along a foot or so from the front wheels of despair. Sometimes this means we get instrumentals like Spinball, Unconditional Waltz and Shortboard. And sometimes this means we venture into strange territory like Under the Wheels, which is like a cheeky reggae boogie in which frontman Joey Burns begs us to show him a sign.

It’s uneven, certainly, but worth panning for the gold: Voices in the Field, for instance, which rattles with all kinds of percussive goodness; The Town & Miss Lorraine, a sweetly sad tale that you could imagine being sung by Neil Diamond (which we mean as a compliment); Flores y Tamales, which is like the antidote to Despacito and counts as some vintage Calexico; and Dead in the Water, a song that could soundtrack a gunfight.

There’s no getting away from the realities of times, though, as lead single End of the World With You makes abundantly clear. This is a rougher, slightly knottier Calexico than we're used to, and that means we have the terrible times in which we live to thank for something.

Listen to: Voices in the Field, The Town & Miss Lorraine, Dead in the Water