If you haven’t heard of the band Texas, you could be forgiven. Despite the name, the group is a Scottish band that has been releasing material together for 25 years now. Efforts to break them stateside have never really worked out, despite the group’s consistently strong output, but they’ve had success in other countries.
Given the band had been on an extended hiatus recording that went back to 2005’s “Red Book,” I hadn’t been watching the group very carefully. Sharleen Spiteri released two solo albums, and only one solo track of hers surfaced stateside, as part of a soundtrack for “The L Word.”
But surprise – they released an album last year called “The Conversation,” and it’s another impressive effort from the group that shows their sound evolving a bit, heading back towards a bit more of an organic approach vs. the more programming-based efforts that marked most of their 2000s material.
Lead single “The Conversation” shows the return to a more guitar-driven sound, and Spiteri remains in fine form. Other tracks on the album highlight the band’s penchant for midtempo pop rock, a lush mixture of electronic sounds and live instrumentation, and nice harmonies surrounding Spiteri’s unique vocals.
“Detroit City,” above, falls into the midtempo pop rock category, with synths getting mixed more heavily into the foreground and a strong second single, while the beat is slowed down a bit on “Dry Your Eyes,” below, which is more reflective.
Despite an eight-year absence, the band still seems to be in strong form, picking up largely where they left off previously. The deluxe version of the album has live versions of many of their earlier popular tunes, which shows how well the new music blends with the previous output. It’s a welcome return for the group, and hopefully one that continues, as opposed to another eight-year gap.
The group’s had a lot of hits in Europe. “Say What You Want” is one of my favorites, a beautiful vocal from Spiteri and with a simple, elegant message of love.
“Getaway,” from 2005, is a more synthetic direction for the group and comes from the aforementioned “Red Book.” It was the first single from the album, and is definitely one of the strongest from it.
“In Our Lifetime” has a cool rhythm to it and I think is one of the catchiest Texas tracks, which heralds from the late ’90s.
A number of their tracks have echoes to previous musical eras. “When We Are Together” is one of them, and those tracks tend to me among the highlights of Texas’ output.