Texas – The Conversation
Out now on [PIAS]
Twenty-five years of Texas and the band hasn’t changed much. Its lead woman, Sharleen Spiteri still maintains her signature androgynous pixy-cut, the band’s extensive entourage of musicians including Ally McErlaine and Johnny McElhone are all still at play and, despite how much the musical scene has evolved since their last release Red Book in 2005, their brand of 90s whimsical country-pop still rings throughout every single track. Fans rejoice.
“It’s gone full circle,” agrees Spiteri. “In terms of songwriting and lyrics, there are definitely elements of country, elements of soul and r&b in it, it’s all still there,” she assures, and so is her penchant for singing about romance.
So let’s begin at track one. In typical Texas fashion, the title of their latest, The Conversation, is also a song and the first release single. A slow starter, it rings of consistence and predictability, never quite peaking though playing on the breathy vocals of Spiteri to a tee in a strategic move that will amass nostalgia from every punter who’s been waiting nearly a decade to hear it.
More upbeat and carefree is Dry Your Eyes. This happy little ditty draws from 50s rock ‘n’ roll; twirling circle skirts on the shiny dance floor and having girls sing into their hairbrushes until the mid-afternoon. From here, the magic and whimsy only escalates. Spiteri breathes smoothly through If This Isn’t Real in a carefully measured voice that lingers in the air before pulling up the rock in Detroit City. Upbeat and absolutely addictive, one can easily imagine a wide-eyed 16 year-old Molly Ringwald pumping her fists to this coming-of-age-tune as she stands up in a car that’s cruising through the big city in perfect slow-mo.
Spiteri’s vocal prowess however is showcased best in Hid From the Light. Heavy beats give way to her drawn-out operatic undertones, lifting and lilting on the chorus before hushing and mustering through emotive layers of lyrical genius.
Nothing is out of the ordinary on The Conversation until Big World hits the ears. A real game changer, this empowering mantra is a burst of energy; electric guitar riffs, back-up choir and an Aretha Franklin soul that wakes the senses and takes us beyond anything Texas has ever created in its extensive lifetime of musicology.
But it’s not until track nine’s Maybe I that we’re reminded what we’re really listening to is country-rock. A little Dolly Parton, a little Patsy Cline and all Sharleen Spiteri, the guitar twangs of heartbreak as Spiteri’s soul opens up and spills all over the polished floor. It’s a floor that’s been sparkly clean for eight long years. Well, Texas fans, not anymore.