The Hush


Universal Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If you've read this site for some time, you know that my musical awakening came while I was in college, especially during my two years in college radio. Thanks to the true "alternative" format, I was exposed to artists I had never heard of before, and quickly learned to appreciate much more about music than just heavy metal and classic rock.

But despite my new-found knowledge, there were still groups that I wasn't willing to take a chance on for one reason or another. One such group was the Scottish band Texas, who were struggling to get noticed in the early '90s. It wasn't until 1997, with the track "Say What You Will" (off their my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 White On Blonde album) that Sharleen Spiteri and crew finally got noticed by the mainstream.

Now, with their latest release The Hush, Texas continues in the similar path that landed them their first hit single in the United States - and while the music is pleasant enough, one has to wonder if the formula isn't overused a bit.

The first single from the album, "In Our Lifetime," sounds almost like a carbon copy of "Say What You Will". And while I won't claim that I know everything there is to know about Texas - hell, for that matter, they could have been playing music in a similar vein their entire career - I can't say I'm crazy about trying to build on success by doing the same thing again. It's not an unpleasant song, but it almost suggests a lack of originality.

Originality is not always the problem on The Hush; tracks like "The Day Before I Went Away," "Day After Day" and "Saint" are evidence that Spiteri and the band can come up with new ideas. The overall sound comes off as Everything But The Girl playing an amalgam of soul and rock - not an unpleasant mix, I must say.

The difficulty with The Hush is that it doesn't command the listener's attention the way that it should, especially seeing that Texas wants to build on the fan base it finally really gained with White On Blonde. Tracks like "Summer Son," "When We Are Together" and "The Hush" are decent enough, but they too easily slip into so much background noise. Repeated listens help a little bit, but Texas should have tried to go for the jugular on the first listen.

Of course, if you fell for this band on the basis of the one American hit, chances are that The Hush will please you. But I question if playing it safe this time around will help Texas in the long run, or if it might suggest they were a one-shot deal.

The Hush is a decent, albeit too gentle, album that should make the long-time fans of Texas happy. But what they need at this stage isn't necessarily satisfaction of the die-hard fans, it's the conversion of new ones.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Universal Records, and is used for informational purposes only.