sun 16/06/2019

CD: Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn

CD: Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn

Renewal of the partnership between Americana stalwarts offers few surprises

Calexico and Iron & Wine’s ‘Years to Burn’: familiar

Anyone familiar with Calexico and Iron & Wine will be unsurprised by Years to Burn. The 32-minute album (one track of which is a short instrumental) showcases lilting, mid-paced, reflective, country tinged and acoustic-bedded songs fleshed out with piano and Mexican-styled brass. The strongest are those where the up-front vocal blend conjures Simon & Garfunkel (“Midnight Sun”) and CSNY (“The Bitter Suite”). Furthermore, the mostly Spanish-language “The Bitter Suite” is the album’s most striking track. A portmanteau composition, it resonates with the impressionistic approach colouring David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember my Name.

Years to Burn arrives 18 months after the last Calexico album, the energised but sprawling The Thread That Keeps Us. For Iron & Wine, it’s the follow-up to August 2017’s stripped-back, unsatisfyingly prototypical Beast Epic. Recorded in December last year, Years to Burn revisits a musical collaboration first heard on the 2005 EP In the Reins, which continued with a joint cover of Dylan’s “Dark Eyes” for the 2007 I’m Not There film and, in the same year, Calexico’s Joey Burns guesting on the Iron & Wine album The Shepherd's Dog.

In Years to Burn’s press release, Sam Beam (who is Iron & Wine) says “coming back to the [collaborative] project has to do with acknowledging how much impact In the Reins had for me in my life.” While that raised Beam’s profile, it does not say why the partnership has been renewed after so long. Calexico’s John Covertino says “This project had to find the right time. It’s a chance to see where we’re at, take stock and be there for our friends.” Perhaps completing unfinished business also offered a chance to revisit musical comfort zones.

Making 'Years to Burn' offered a chance to revisit musical comfort zones

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Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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