Everyone say "Hi"
16 June 2021-
Scottish band Texas are back with a 10th album that is quite surprising: while many musicians are out there trying to reinvent music, Sharleen Spiteri's gang turn backwards instead — with outstanding results...
Texas is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Many paradoxes to unpack here: one, the band’s name quite obviously suggests a Southern outfit; instead, what you find is a bunch of highly talented Glaswegians musicians. Second, a European secret does not exactly amount to one, but the band, although very successful on the old continent, hasn’t quite made the jump to the newer one. Until now? That would be presumptuous — and also quite superfluous.
For lead singer Sharleen Spiteri and her colleagues have very vocally stated that fame for fame’s sake is not really their objective. Instead, it is work on the very music that they produce that is the goal: art for art’s sake, some would venture to quip… As it happens, Texas has managed to develop a rather distinctive sound over the past 25 years: quite subdued and subtle, yet never syrupy or otherwise overly produced. The result is delicate pop rock music, one that the older in the audience will not fail to enjoy — and a couple of youngsters too, we gather.
The time factor is very relevant when listening to the band’s latest effort, their 10th LP, quite minimalistically entitled Hi. It turns out that this album was not supposed to be one: while searching through their archives to come up with a Best Of, Spiteri and friends stumbled upon old demos recorded decades ago — and never released. What we hear today are not those demos: rather, they are new songs inspired by them. As if the band were picking things up 25 years down the line with nothing in-between, except more experience and artistry. Because, if we had to judge by this set of tracks, we would have to bet the original material already sounded fine…
And quite refreshing too: the title track, featuring the Wu-Tang Clan no less, is a clean cut pop track (and then some Hip Hop), one you would expect from much younger artists. “Mr Haze”, which opens the album, almost sounds like Motown production circa 1965 with Spiteri as a Scottish Diana Ross (and is actually based on a Giorgio Moroder-produced Donna Summer track). Same goes for the rest of the album: unabashedly grandiose ballads like “Unbelievable”, straight on 80’s beats with “Look What You’ve Done”, incredibly soulful horns on “You Can Call Me”… all these tracks, although somewhat dissimilar, all feature that Texas stamp of unassuming sophistication. And, quite simply, they all sound right.
That’s what you want from music, don’t you?