It’s the 25th anniversary of Texas’ debut release, and to celebrate they have opted to re-work some of their finest tracks to give them a fresh new feel with help from New York production powerhouse Truth and Soul. This has resulted in their latest album Texas 25, which is a brilliant addition to the record collection of any Texas fan.
New track Start A Family is a gorgeous album opener, and although mellow; it really does pack an emotional punch. Front woman Sharleen Spiteri’s delicate vocals on this song work particularly well with the reflective lyrics about the tos-and-fros of a turbulent relationship. Another brilliant new track on this album is the flirty 60s inspired Supafly Boy, which is unbelievably catchy and has a rather youthful and fun vibe to it.
As for the re-recordings of the old tracks, the transformation has left them superbly soulful. A strong Motown feel runs throughout most of the album, which is a rather lovely nod to many of the acts that have inspired the band over the years. For most, this Motown makeover works extremely well; especially during Say What You Want, which has a brilliant sultry depth reminiscent of Marvin Gaye through the addition of horns and a fat bass line. It also works particularly well during Halo, which just simply makes you want to dance thanks to the addition of the super powerful brass section and retro style backing vocals. Unfortunately, the groovy makeover does not seem to work so well on Black Eyed Boy, which seems to have lost some of the urgent punchiness that the original from White on Blonde had.
For the revamped versions of The Conversation and I Don’t Want A Lover, the band have opted to stick with the more of a bluesy feel of the originals, using country rock guitars that wouldn’t sound out of place in a Western film. However, even these have the hint of soul that runs throughout the album thanks to the addition of Hammond organ. Closing song Summer Son is also a treat for the ears as it transports you to warmer climes with an ebbing reggae feel to the music and Spanish guitar work laced throughout.
Overall Texas 25 is an absolute pleasure to listen to, especially from my point of view as a long term fan of the band. Where most bands would just throw out a compilation of their hits throughout the years, Texas have made an effort to re-imagine some already fantastic tracks in a way that pays tribute to their soul influences and have done it masterfully. I look forward to seeing them perform these live on their tour in April.