by Ryan Doyle Elward
Now totaling nine albums, Calexico meets Edge of the Sun in similar fashion and form as past releases, specifically regarding the blending of folk / Americana and traditional Latin instrumentation together into a pleasant containment of culturally dyadic content. Prime examples of both alternating within the album are best heard by comparing “Woodshed Waltz” and “Coyoacan Theme.” Notably, the remarkable success in maintaining the integrity of both primary genres, as neither are presented in a patronizing or trivializing manner, nor have they ever. Calexico is not attempting to package elements of foreign music in a way that might be palatable by just any general audience, but rather leans toward honest articulation and authentic exhibition of principle elements of style that define entire cultures.
Calexico establishes a sense of place through genuine delivery of these cultural themes, accomplished in such a way that is both artistically challenging and different from drawing on memories and personal sentiment. Not simply stirring the contents of past experiences, but instead inspiring feelings of presence and attachment to unfamiliar, untraveled locales. Distant from what is known, turning toward a sense of worldliness not before garnered, rallying unharnessed empiricism.
Loosely themed, Edge of the Sun portrays a twofold relationship with the desert, a stark contrast between searing heat from the blinding sun, to an engulfing cold under an endless quilt of darkness. Trading on and off throughout the album, dipping one end in the light, and one in the dark; an exchange most accurately revealed when listening to “Bullets & Rocks” compared to “World Undone.” Uncertain of light behind, or light to come, Edge of the Sun ties into powerful regional aspects and anchors Calexico again deep into relatable ground.