Calexico, who return with their ninth studio album in January and two UK shows in March, are building anticipation for its release with a new single.
‘Voices In The Field’, says vocalist/guitarist Joey Burns, draws inspiration from Mavis Staples, Bombino, Joe Strummer, and Bob Dylan.
“In the age of the extremes, when walls attempt stifling words, this song is inspired by the poems on postcards from those uprooted by war and oppression,” he explains. “It’s a song to remind us to open up our hearts and hear other voices sing their stories.”
The LP from which the song’s taken, ‘The Thread That Keeps Us’, finds the band adding more grit to their characteristic unpredictability.
“There’s a little more chaos and noise in the mix than what we’ve done in the past,” Burns points out. “Whenever we’re writing and we come up with something that feels too familiar, someone will end up saying: ‘That feels good, but let’s keep going and see what else we can uncover,’” he adds.
“It’s been really important to the arc of this band’s evolution for us to always keep on trying new things.”
One of the new things they tried this time was to record with musicians from around the world in a Northern California home-turned-studio built from debris and shipyard-salvaged timber, which influenced not just the music but the lyrics.
“Instead of writing straight-up protest songs, I want to tell stories,” says Burns, whose narratives were inspired by his wanderings during the album’s production and focus on “returning to your home after being gone for some time and seeing how things have changed, and maybe not in the best way”.
Following the release of ‘The Thread That Keeps Us’ on 26 January 2018, the group play Bristol’s Trinity Centre on 28 March and London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 29 March.