They call New Orleans a melting pot. When one thinks about it like that, it’s hardly surprising that this is where Calexico reconvened to record their seventh full-length album, Algiers. Joey Burns and John Convertino have long called upon an extended range of musical influences, blending them together so distinctly that the results have almost become a genre of their own. Nonetheless, the choice of New Orleans may still come as a surprise to many. Calexico are, after all, associated with a style that their name – borrowed from a small town of less than 40,000 inhabitants on the border between the US and Mexico – has always defined with an unusual precision. Their work has spoken of dusty deserts and the loners that inhabit them, mixing America’s country music heritage with that of a Latin persuasion. In other words, it isn’t obviously affiliated with the sounds that have made New Orleans one of the premiere tourist destinations in the US. What’s emerged as a result of this decision, however, is arguably the most exciting and accessible record Calexico have made. It’s a fact emphasised by the band’s decision to name the album in tribute to the neighbourhood where they worked: Algiers.
The feel of Algiers is recognisably classic Calexico, but their style been revitalised and reborn by the experience of recording in the city. Its influence isn’t necessarily sonically evident, but there’s a strange, powerful connection to the sounds that have always coloured their own, influences Burns has previously identified as including "Portugese fado, ’50s jazz, gypsy or romani music and its offshoots, ’60s surf and twang from Link Wray to country’s Duane Eddy, the spaghetti western epics of Ennio Morricone and dark indie rock singer songwriters."