Calexico's latest is pretty much composed of the same base elements that made the band's previous effort, The Hot Rail, such a sad but thrilling ride, though the mood has shifted slightly. Even the most ambient tracks on The Hot Rail had a desperado momentum, and the album's sequencing (a Hazlewood-esque ballad followed by a spaced-out instrumental followed by a mariachi interlude) also suggested going somewhere, anywhere. But on Feast of Wire, the mariachi and post-rock rhythms are more integrated into the songwriting, making the album feel both looser and more seamless. There's a stillness to even the most driving tracks. By the end, the songs are all languorous and open-ended; everything settles into a sense of rest -- a little uneasy, to be sure, but placid nonetheless. It's still sad, but God, it's beautiful.
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