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Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers: Unida Cantina (Emmajava) 

Roger Clyne has a long-nurtured fascination with Mexico, singing plenty about the low-key party life found beachside, and peppering his Southwest rock with Spanish—and an open invitation to join him in the escape.

Such an unerring faith to a single muse risks repetition, but Clyne brings a renewed sense of nuance to Unida Cantina, the Peacemakers' sixth record—but their first in three years.

The songs find Clyne approaching larger themes, like the hollow ache that comes from economic struggles and how to find a sense of community and togetherness. But he also takes a look inward at family life and the slowly shifting identity and priorities of a man in his 40s.

The band's sound is well established—driving rock, harmony-rich, with a classic jangle and some country influences. Opener "All Over the Radio" is an ode to rock 'n' roll, with bright horns and Clyne's gift for an expressive melody, full of yearning and devotion. "Heaven on a Paper Plate" celebrates the simple pleasures of the backyard family barbecue.

With its opening line of "Rich gonna reap / poor gotta sow," "Dinero" is an anthem for the struggling, with Clyne urging a spirit of defiance, even as the breaking point gets closer and closer.

By taking on a different sort of live-for-today attitude, Clyne shows an equal embrace for where he is and where he's been.

More by Eric Swedlund

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