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 emphasized by the band’s decision to name the album in tribute to the neighbourhood where they worked: Algiers.