Showing posts with label the mavericks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the mavericks. Show all posts

Monday, March 2, 2015

video review: 'mono' by the mavericks

And that's two for tonight. Whew.

Okay, next... either The Pop Group, Toby Keith, or (if I have to) Kelly Clarkson. Stay tuned!

album review: 'mono' by the mavericks

So let's talk about comebacks again.

I've talked a bit before about artists managing to revive their careers thanks to diehard fanbases, critical attention, or simply stepping into the right place at the right time - one of the reasons Sleater-Kinney's No Cities To Love did as well as it did this year, on top of just being awesome. But Sleater-Kinney wasn't just a great band, they were responsible for shaping that particular brand of feminist punk rock for years to come, and you could argue their influence runs pretty deep.

The Mavericks, on the other hand... okay, who was expecting this comeback to work? For those of you who don't know, The Mavericks were a neotraditional country act that came up in the mid-90s that I'd describe as midway between Alabama and Lonestar - not quite as rollicking or twangy, but not the slick pop country that would define Lonestar successful years in the late 90s and early 2000s. They charted a few modest hits, but were never massive hitmakers with anything that hit the top 10, or made music that I'd describe as essential of the era. Hell, on some of their singles I'd have a hard time describing them as a neotraditional country act, which might have been their problem getting hits - they were too polished for most country with the ska-like horns, clean adult contemporary production, Raul Malo's rich baritenor, doofy yacht rock vibe, and tendency for covering Elvis and Cat Stevens. It's no surprise that 'All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down' is their biggest country hit and the only one I recognized at all on first listen - and they still managed to find a way to wedge an accordion solo into it! So after breaking up, I had no reason to care about The Mavericks, putting them in the same historical footnote as I put similar 90s neotraditional acts that never really caught on - yes, I know they had a Grammy, ask Marc Cohn or Debby Boone how much those matter for one's long-term career.

But then they came back with In Time in 2013... and really, it was like they never left. The horns, the accordion, the eclectic country of The Mavericks only seemed to really change and evolve in the thicker grooves and picking up more texture, which was a welcome shift. But despite the waves of critical acclaim the record got, I was a little more lukewarm on it - I got the old-fashioned flavour to the vocals and songwriting, but to me it always felt a little staged and kitschy - not bad by any stretch, let me stress this, but a little broad. But then again, the band seemed to be committed to pushing their sound even further, so I made sure to check out their newest album Mono - how did that turn out?