The thread comes undone immediately on Calexico's latest.ANTI-, 2018
4.5 / 10
The Thread That Keeps Us marks album number nine for Calexico. The band led by core members Joey Burns and John Convertino continue to stack their sound; gathering musicians from around the globe. But Thread delivers weak returns much like Calexico’s previous two albums, Algiers and Edge of the Sun. No doubt Calexico know how to craft a song. They’re pros at it. However, a well-constructed song doesn’t always equal an exciting one. The album’s best songs are dull while the album’s worst songs are excruciatingly dull. Perhaps it’s a result of an uninspired theme for the album. Says Burns, the album is about “returning to your home after being gone for some time and seeing how things have changed, and maybe not in the best way.” Gee, that’s a first.
So, yeah, Burns is emoting while wandering through Northern California. And he wants to make you feel his anguish and uncertainty through songs that want to be anthems. Thread even opens with Calexico doing their best U2 impression with “End of the World With You”. But it lands just as well as U2’s recent album. When the band tries to rekindle some of their Tex-Mex roots with songs like “Under The Wheels” and “Flores y Tamales”, they sound unintentionally corny and dated. The thread has been unraveling for a while but with this album, Calexico finally sounds threadbare.