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Convict Pool EP

Convict Pool EP

Although I was a smidge down on their last album (Feast Of Wire, which has grown on me considerably since), Calexico is one of those groups that I simply knew I would follow anyway. They create some of the most consistently moving music that out there, and they've contributed to great releases by other artists (like Neko Case) as well. Although the album design is again somewhat questionable, the group is back with another batch of absolutely solid tracks on this short release.

Although the running length is just over 20 minutes total and there are only 3 original songs (the other 3 are covers), a couple tracks on the disc are standouts and there isn't a weak link in the bunch. Nicolai Dunger and his band join the group for the cover of "Alone Again Or" to open the release and the familiar track is given just the right amount of southwestern punch to move it into a new and celebratory area that works quite well. The album-titled "Convict Pool" follows and it's easily the standout of the entire release. Alternating between quiet passages of acoustic guitar and rolling waves of percussion, it features what might be the best vocal performance yet by Joey Burns. It's a soaring, beautiful track and practically justifies the EP by itself.

Fortunately, there's several other great tracks and the album moves nicely through quieter pieces ("Si Tu Disais") and hilariously rollicking (the fiesta-blast of "Corona"). Although it doesn't sound too much different than something the group has already done, the closer of "Sirena" features a trio of female backup singers that pushes it into just a different enough area that makes it work. With a good mixture of both upbeat and quieter tracks, this is a release that goes by a little too quickly and begs for replay. With the added bonus of a Cartoon Network short (featuring the song "Minas De Cobre" by the group), it's defintely worth owning.

Rating: 7.75