For those who know Calexico primarily through its collaborations with other, more notable musicians – including the masterful 2005 EP In the Reins (with Iron & Wine) and last year’s I’m Not There contribution “Goin’ to Acapulco” (featuring My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James) – it might surprise you to learn that the Arizona-based sextet (the seeds for which were planted in 1990) has actually existed far longer than either of the other aforementioned bands. And while Calexico’s previous studio release — 2006’s Garden Ruin — was an attempt to break into the mainstream, Carried to Dust sheds such polish in favor of a mariachi-meets-folk groove, complete with instrumental showcases (“El Gatillo”), Spanish-language singles (“Inspiración”), and haunting tracks right out of the Dylan/Waits handbook (“The News About William,” easily the album’s standout). And aside from a few misses along the way – the 15-track disc could have easily been trimmed by three or four tracks – Calexico delivers its most resonant release to date.
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