With Calexico, it’s easy to get lost in the mariachi horns and pedal steel and incredible musicianship while sometimes ignoring the fact that some of their most simple songs are actually their best. “Convict Pool” is a tremendous song that fits in this category. “Sunken Wealth” is in the same boat.
Washed my face in the rivers of empire,
Made my bed from a cardboard crate,
Down in the city of quartz.
No news, no new regrets,
Tossed a Susan B. over my shoulder,
And prayed it would rain and rain,
Submerge the whole western states,
Call it a last fair deal
With an American seal
And corporate hand shake.
That’s not to say that I don’t love me some epic tex mex jams like “Crystal Frontier”, which, in the live setting is taken to new heights -- a fact that seems to be no secret to anyone these days, as they seem to be the house band for every live tribute and every collaboration. They are the Booker T’s of southmex aughts indie rock, some might say. Their split EP with Iron and Wine, for example, seems to have brought Sam Beam out of homespun shell and launched him into a more percussive, swinging world that Calexico sometimes inhabits.
Anyway, this is a really great live band and their recordings don’t seem to do them much justice, but “Sunken Wealth” still stands alone as a great tune. Check it out.