What New Orleans does seem to have inspired in Calexico, though, is some of its best songwriting.
Endlessly listenable and beautifully performed, Algiers is another fine entry into this dependably excellent band’s catalogue.
The whole album feels more self-assured, and Joey Burns and John Convertino have never sounded better.
This continuous give and take between tension and beauty is what gives Algiers a lot of charm.
Algiers is the kind of unassumingly perfect low-key record that gets lost in the fray too easily amongst its more audacious peers.
The result is an album that never sounds settled or still, defined not by one or another place but by the tumultuous spaces in between.
While there are some fine moments on the recording, one is often left wishing that the duo had chosen to delve deeper into the acoustic soundscapes that they excel at rather than exploring the edges of confessional pop music as they do here.
Algiers too often lacks the focus and zip of Calexico's early work and is uncharacteristically muted, self-conscious and uncertain.
‘Algiers’, their seventh album, is far less surface-level appealing, but the sad twang of a pedal steel and Joey Burns’ rich lyrical imagery draw you in, and depth and craftsmanship is slowly revealed.
Aside from a few brief, shimmering moments, Algiers is sort of like the Grand Canyon: it may have some enjoyable attractions, but in the end, you’re just staring at a giant hole.
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