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Califone

Tim Rutili's lyrics are like a secret garden of language and imagery, evoking emotions more than revealing them. In fact, he's said that what listeners bring to the experience is the most important component of meaning in his songs.

Their effect is nevertheless inescapable, owing to the creative intensity of the arrangements, assembled from found sounds and experimental ones, interwoven with an infrastructure of organic, even occasionally rootsy, pop melodicism.

Rutili last passed through Tucson solo, as the opening act on the Calexico/Iron and Wine tour. Roots and Crowns, set for release Oct. 10, reconvenes the Califone lineup, adding multi-instrumentalist and avant-pop wunderkind Michael Krassner. Longtime collaborator Brian Deck produces from his strength--an atmospheric sensibility to rival Howe Gelb's.

Roots and Crowns cycles back and branches out from the band's work prior to the anomalously dark and bluesy Heron King Blues, released in 2004. The new material reflects a novel sense of openness Rutili says comes from his recent work scoring films in Los Angeles. The arrangements imply new influences, too.

"Spiders House" is an upbeat California pop ballad weighted with what sounds like an oboe, but could be anything. The cover of Psychic TV's "The Orchids" is transcendent; Rutili says that's the song that inspired him to write this album.

More by Linda Ray

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