Algiers is Calexico’s sixth studio effort and what is instantly recognisable is the duo’s smoky country roots. It’s a distinctive sound that they’ve been honing since they started out back in the 90s.
As one of the more sedated offerings from Calexico, Algiers has a constant sense of longing throughout the album, a sense of searching through the unknown territory of New Orleans, the city in which the Tuscan based duo relocated to record the album. There is definitely a flavour unheard on previous albums, songs slip from the country infused to mariachi all the way to the Spanish spoken No Te Vayas.
While the gentle and sedated manor of this album can seem slow, it does highlight the band’s excellent musicianship and ability to truly paint a picture of their surroundings. No matter where you are listening to this record it has a tendency to whisk you away to pastures more exotic. Yet however accomplished these songs sound they never really threaten to dig beyond the comfortable, to ride out to unknown boundaries or even just drop in an occasional curveball. It’s frustrating to say the least as for me Calexico have always felt like a band on the edge of creating something incredible – though unfortunately Algiers is not it.
The second half of the record packs even less of a punch. The only redemption being Calexico’s ability to transcend genres without you ever really noticing, while still flirting with the Americana feel.
The truth is that this album is in no way a bad listen, it’s just not a very memorable listen. Maybe it’s time for Calexico to shake things up a little and see what happens.