March 22, 2007


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Apostle of Hustle, National Anthem of Nowhere
Arts & Crafts Records, 2007

One gets the impression that Apostle of Hustle are Calexico fans, not partial to Calexico’s old horns and Zorro guitars so much (though there are some here) but the hushed, dusty watermarks of the new, arguably improved Calexico of such things as “Cruel” and “Deep Down.” In an indie scene where bands Calexico’s age are already considered packs of mummies, though, it wouldn’t be fair to impale AofH on that comparison alone, not only for their reputation’s sake but also owing to their penchant for fattening their sound with surprise-guest layers. Not pointless, gratuitous layers, either, but lines – be they secondary fuzz-basses (“My Sword Hand’s Anger”) or shoegaze power-ups (“Justine Beckoning”) – that actually add something to the crew’s well-put-together brainchildren. Puffy clouds of Blind Melon and Maroon 5 hand over their overtly commercial keys to a Cure-like rhythm section that periodically verges on Smashing Pumpkins, all in all creating the agreeable but mildly edgy sort of day-trip ambience you didn’t realize your car was missing. B+ Eric W. Saeger