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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast of post-Mariachi rock music
In a way the reviewer from Phoenix sums it all up, because if you believe in a world strictly divided into simple categories by intransigent boundaries, Calexico's music obviously isn't for you. Gringos shan't play with mariachi bands just as the white hillbilly kid from Tupelo, Miss., had no business stealing that negro groove (or even worse, their gospel music), Robert...
Published on March 3 2003 by ogmb

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars For best results, see live
My first introduction to Calexico was seeing them playing live at Somerset House in London in the summer of 2003, and they were absolutely breathtaking. As with all live bands, the studio album is always something of a anticlimax, as it's almost impossible to recreate the atmosphere and rush of seeing them live. Still, it's a grower of an album and is a must for any...
Published on April 11 2004 by Code Red


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast of post-Mariachi rock music, March 3 2003
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
In a way the reviewer from Phoenix sums it all up, because if you believe in a world strictly divided into simple categories by intransigent boundaries, Calexico's music obviously isn't for you. Gringos shan't play with mariachi bands just as the white hillbilly kid from Tupelo, Miss., had no business stealing that negro groove (or even worse, their gospel music), Robert Zimmerman turned into Judas when he picked up the electric guitar and Sandy Koufax should have been driven off the mound because Jews don't play baseball. Boundaries are easy ways out for those who want to avoid the harder task of judging a work on its merit rather than by the classifiers it reinforces or breaches, and Calexico have always made it their business to negate the borderline that separates the Sonoran desert into a Calexican and a Mexicali part (which might explain in part why they're so much more popular in boundary-infested Europe than in their home country).
For those who appreciate Calexico for who they are, this album is amazing. For most of the album Calexico's high wire (sic) act between the populist and the intricate works out perfectly, and unlike some of the earlier albums Feast of Wire actually flows. Sunken Waltz and Quattro find a perfect way to match the groove of the music and the sobriety of the message, and Black Heart even manages to top this feat. Ironically, for the most part the mariachi elements are muted and make place for a more pronounced European influence: the string arrangements on Black Heart and Close Behind recall Goldfrapp, Yann Tiersen or Francoiz Breut's stunning Vingt a Trente Mille Jours rather than Mariachi Luz de Luna. (Again, the influences here are mutual and far from a crowd-pleasing career move.)
The instrumentals, long the Achilles heel on Calexico albums, work out perfectly and for the most part do what they are supposed to: link the vocal tracks and lead from one idea to the next. If there is one thing to complain though, it is that the album is frontloaded with vocal tracks (pandering to listening boothes?), and the album peters out on four quasi-instrumental tracks (especially the somnambulant No Doze) rather than end with a bang. But even with this minor blemish Feast of Wire is Calexico at the height of their skills and a strong contender for my album of the year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Calexico became a prsonal theme, April 28 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
This album is so different and so diverse it will be like nothing you have ever heard before. Just when one track mellows you out the next track will take your breath away. This album should be illegal because it is so addicting. Calexico is the most innovative band I have heard in a long time. I turn everyone on to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Sweeping Southwestern Soundscape, April 21 2004
By 
Kurt Harding "bon vivant" (Boerne TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
My first taste of Calexico was a song they did on a Lee Hazlewood tribute album. I was intrigued by their sound and decided to get one of their CDs to broaden my overview. For no particular reason, I settled on Feast of Wire.
There is a lot to like here, with a multitude of musical influences evident. Listening through, I swear at times I'm hearing Neil Young or Ennio Morricone. At other times, I hear the sounds of funk-soaked jazz soundtrack music a la Barry Adamson. And always around the corner one hears strains of the borderlands sounds that have come to be known as desert rock. Even the cover art is evocative of the southwestern frontier.
My favorite songs here are Sunken Waltz, Quattro, the Morricone-infused Close Behind, Dub Latina, Guero Canelo, and the Adamsonian soundtrack jazz of Crumble.
With Feast of Wire, Calexico offers a sweeping southwestern soundscape that will carry you far away from the cares of the day. I recommend this to anyone who is musically adventurous and has a taste for the borderlands in their blood.
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3.0 out of 5 stars For best results, see live, April 11 2004
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
My first introduction to Calexico was seeing them playing live at Somerset House in London in the summer of 2003, and they were absolutely breathtaking. As with all live bands, the studio album is always something of a anticlimax, as it's almost impossible to recreate the atmosphere and rush of seeing them live. Still, it's a grower of an album and is a must for any respectable record collection.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Different, Feb. 11 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
I started listening to this band with their Black Light CD which got under my skin. Songs like 'Fade', made me realize their brilliance. When my brother sent me this CD I was a little disappointed. It didn't seem to grow on me as quickly. At first my favorite tracks were only the instrumental #5, Pepita and the falsettoish #6 Not even stevie nicks. After repated listens I realized the song Quattro was absolutly spellbinding. The chours makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. It's very beautiful. Definetely an album that requires many listens.
Apparently this band is so amazing live and that makes them more accessible if you see them. It does have its weak points toward the end but all in all not a bad one.
Oh and (P.S., I saw an addidas commercial recently that has the song Pepita playing in the background while Ali is taking a jog. I was excited to see such an unknown band getting their song played on television. Look out for it!)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Album of 2003, Jan. 22 2004
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
Calexico have always been good. Their music has always struck a chord with me. The one criticism I've had is that it veered too much into the spagetti western although it was some of what they did best. With Feast of Wire, they moved further away from that. Sure, its still there, but they've become more authentic. Songs like Guero Canelo, Black Heart, Not Even Stevie Nicks, Woven Birds, & Sunken Waltz make this by far the best CD of year (w/ White Stripes's Elephant taking 2nd). Many reviews use words like masterpiece to describe this album. I hope it isn't. To me it feels like the build up to something truly staggering.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, Jan. 9 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
This album is my introduction to Calexico. I heard Quattro on Internet radio and was intrigued enough to buy the CD--smart move. I have such eclectic tastes in music, it's hard to find a band whose overall effort is so satisfying. I played it three times in row after ripping off the shrink-wrap. Needless to say, the other albums are soon heading my way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Calexico - Up-and-Comers Have Arrived, Jan. 3 2004
By 
Stu Williams (Tucson, Arizona) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
Yes, 'Feast of Wire' is great! Just saw another of their hometown performances at The Temple of Music and Art (a sellout) where they played close to half the songs on 'Feast of Wire' and 'Hot Rail.' Calexico is supercharged live and 'Feast of Wire' is a great entree to their uniquely Sonoran Desert blend of mariachi horns, steel guitars and other instruments that surround Joey Burns's vocals and guitar and John Convertino's syncopatic drumming.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes., Nov. 4 2003
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
Calexico's best album yet. How this mess of different sounds manages to pull together is anyones guess, but it works brilliantly.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Album Ever Made, Oct. 27 2003
By 
"gina8576" (West Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Feast Of Wire (Audio CD)
There is nothing like seeing Calexico live. Period.
BUT, I must say that 'Feast of Wire' captured these talented musicians and their many instruments and voices like none of their previous albums. This album is prolific, sultry and just plain cool. We all know that Joey has a voice that could melt the coldest heart, but the real unsung heroes of this album are Jacob Valenzuela and Martin Fink. They're on trumpet and a number of other instruments. Joey and John could have a great duet going, but Martin and Jacob are really the glue that makes a simple band into, what I feel, is the greatest and most talented band alive today.
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Feast Of Wire
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