Album Review: Texas – The Conversation4 min read
After an eight year hiatus from recording as a band, one of Scotland’s most influential and timeless collectives, Texas, are back this month with The Conversation, their first album since 2005’s Red Book. Flexing their hit making muscles over a brand new track listing, The Conversation is certainly one of the bands most anticipated records of their lengthy career.
With hits spanning the last three decades including In Our Lifetime, Black Eyed Boy, I Don’t Want A Lover and Say What You Want and led by confidently bolshy front woman, Sharleen Spiteri, Texas have been a staple in popular music for almost 30 years, spreading their Americana scented musical offspring throughout the world and adopting a loyal, global fan-base in the process.
We haven’t heard much from the Texas camp since the bands 2005 release though. Sharleen has filled in the bands time apart with a meaty couple of solo releases (2008’s Melody and 2010’s film covers collection, The Movie Songbook) but apart from that, all has been relatively quiet, so much so that the idea of the band’s Red Book release being their last, began to seem very possible.
When Texas released the title track from their latest record to radio recently, the music world breathed a sigh of relief as the clonks to the Texas machine came to life in preparation of their latest unveiling. That track, the albums opening number, brings us quickly up to speed with Texas as they are today. The momentum is up there with some of the bands best toe tapping tracks and the numbers infectious guitar riff and addictive chorus encourages a sing along moment or two within the songs radio friendly drenched delivery. It’s one of the strongest additions on the new collection as it steadily sets the scene almost instantaneously with its robust Americana saturating, the tracks simple yet soothing and familiar guitar work and Sharleen’s mid-tempo dressed vocal arrangement; the singer placing her suave, confident and distinctive vocals over the number.
Dry your Eyes opens with a bluesy guitar riff before welcoming in a subtle string section and some sweetly sung harmonies which sit gently behind Sharleen’s 50’s inspired vocal work and the tracks acoustic guitar-led instrumentation. The tracks nostalgic quality is tied up with the bands engaging musicianship – a sweet union. The same seasoning is given to the following If This Isn’t Real, a Roy Orbison-meets-a-mellow-David Bowie-esque track with a strong bass line running thick beneath the songs casual melody and Sharleen’s occasional “Wah-wah-ooh” backing vocals.
The eighties are out and proud on Detroit City as we are met with an injection of cool synth and spacey effects while the tracks chorus makes this one sound like a cut from the bands Red Book release. It’s cheeky and cheesy yet retains enough of the bands effortless musical credibility to make the number naturally cool, particularly during Sharleen’s Blondie-style vocal offering, dotted throughout the latter half of the number.
An island coated instrumentation courses through I Will Always but misses the mark with its drowsy delivery and Sharleen’s unflatteringly deep balladic vocals and leaves us slightly deflated. We hope this one grows on us over time. Talk About Love carries a similar 50’s Rock’n’Roll sound and leaves us longing for a little more of the Texas we have missed over the past 8 years. Thankfully that thirst is quenched with Hid From The Light, a mid-tempo nugget of Texas gold that drips with the bands early rocks roots and some of their more recent pop sensibilities. It’s an edgy, rough cut number but eloquently chiseled with a gritty rhythm and an edgy sense of belonging within the new album.
Further down we are met with the closing number, I Need Time, a perfect outro to The Conversation and one of the standout numbers contained within the band’s latest track-listing. The mid-tempo rhythm paces itself around Sharleen’s graceful vocals and sweet lyricism as the singer delivers optimistic lines like, “Time is all I need, to find somebody, someone just for me”.
The Conversation isn’t the most modern sounding Texas record the band have offered us but in a world producing pop stars that have been dipped in old school Motown and Jazz of late, that is hardly a crime now is it? There are a few misses on the record but that those minor dips are easily forgiven with additions like the album’s title hit, Big World and the retro coated Detroit City.
The Conversation is a familiar record for Texas in the sense that fans will respond well with the units current style which has changed since their latest studio effort, however, the band has managed to retain the signature sound that have helped them win over their loyal fan-base and add new fans with every release unleashed throughout the bands impressive career.
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