- Released: February 18, 2003
- Label: Quarter Stick
Entertainment Weekly - 3/14/03, p.66
"...These country-rock abstractionists make songs full of Sergio Leone set pieces and Mexicali blues, with random bursts of jazz swagger...and pop bliss..." - Rating: B+
Q - 01/01/04, p.75Ranked #48
in Q's "The 50 Best Albums of 2003" - "This is another diverse collection, with Latin shuffles, slow waltzes and would-be spaghetti western soundtracks all queuing up for a turn in the spotlight."
Uncut - 01/04, pp.84-7Ranked #49
in Uncut's "Albums Of The Year 2003"
Uncut - 3/03, p.984 stars out of 5
- "...Calexico transports you to a place where the sun's hot enough to bake bricks and there are always mangy dogs in the shade....Saddle up, it's showtime..."
Magnet - 4/03, p.85
"...It's all drunkenly cinematic, as prickly as cactus and smart as hell, a fly-splattered vista of tumbling tumbleweeds and wide-open spaces..."
The Wire - 2/03, p.59
"...They create a space for the listener to appreciate the music's constituent parts at the same time as measuring its overall impact....Their instrumentals run from the briefest of acoustic interludes to beautifully arranged soundtracks..."
Q (Magazine) - p.1084 stars out of 5
-- "[A] set of succinct, evocative songs."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1104 stars out of 5
-- "[T]hey almost found a pop voice, albeit one with mariachi horns, snaking Latin beats and an occasional hint of smoky jazz."
Mojo (Publisher) - 01/01/04, p.56Ranked #35
in Mojo's "The Best of 2003"
Mojo (Publisher) - 3/03, p.985 stars out of 5
- "...The music is often sensuous and sparkly....Seductive, stirring songs about crushed hope and the corruption of beauty and some of their most ambitious arrangements make this their most fully-realised and accomplished album yet..."
- 1.Sunken Waltz
- 2.Quattro (World Drifts In)
- 4.Black Heart
- 6.Not Even Stevie Nicks...
- 7.Close Behind
- 8.Woven Birds
- 9.The Book and the Canal
- 10.Attack el Robot! Attack!
- 11.Across the Wire
- 12.Dub Latina
- 13.G?ero Canelo - (Spanish)
- 14.Whipping the Horse's Eyes
- 16.No Doze
Calexico: Joey Burns (vocals, various instruments); Paul Niehaus (pedal-steel guitar); Martin Wenk (accordion, trumpet, bowed vibraphone); Jacob Valenzuela (trumpet); Volker Zander (upright bass); John Convertino (piano, drums, percussion).
Additional personnel includes: Nick Luca (electric guitar, piano, synthesizer, vibraphone); Ed Kay (flute); Eddie Lopez (button accordion); Craig Schumacher (trumpet, synthesizer, tympani, background vocals); Joeseph Valenzuela, Jeff Marchant (trombone).
Producers: Joey Burns, John Convertino, Craig Schumacher.
Recorded at Wavelab Studio, Tucson, Arizona.
Personnel: Joey Burns (vocals, guitar, cuatro, mandolin, cello, accordion, melodica, pump organ, synthesizer, vibraphone, upright bass, percussion); Nick Luca (vocals, electric guitar, piano, synthesizer, vibraphone); Jacob Valenzuela (vocals, trumpet); Fernando Valencia (violin); Ed Kay (flute); Martin Wenk (accordion, trumpet); Craig Schumacher (trumpet, synthesizer, timpani, background vocals); John Convertino (piano, drums, percussion); Volker Zander (upright bass).
Audio Mixers: Craig Schumacher; Jim Blackwood; Nick Luca.
Recording information: WaveLab Studios, Tucson, AZ.
Calexico streamlined its eclectic sound a bit on this 2003 release, adding a pop sensibility to the band's already-exciting mixture of Latin-tinged Southwestern twang and jazzy, atmospheric sophistication. Most notably, FEAST OF WIRE features more of multi-instrumentalist Joey Burns's voice (Burns co-founded the band along with drummer John Convertino). On "Quattro (World Drifts In)," which combines Burns's under-the-radar singing with a guitar-driven song structure, Calexico sounds like it might even sneak onto mainstream FM radio. But the breezy accessibility is deceptive, because, over the course of FEAST, the ensemble is remarkably experimental and adventurous.
The giddy-up rhythms of "Close Behind," complete with accordion, sweeping strings, and lap steel, prove the band's mastery at animating dusty, sun-baked motifs that sound like alternate soundtracks to HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER. The stately classicism of the piano-and-strings duet "The Book and the Canal" and the electronica-influenced "Attack El Robot! Attack!" proves the group capable of throwing out curveballs. Even when Calexico traffics in more traditional songcraft ("Not Even Stevie Nicks..."), its quirky approach keeps its indie credibility unassailable. FEAST OF WIRE is accomplished, listener-friendly experimentalism of the first order.