WantA Lover. a rip-roaring slice of slide guitar and lush vocals. stormed the hearts and stormed the charts. and Texas were here with an emphatic twang.
Texas gel the old and the new. Sharleen Spiteri. just into her twenties. is the freshness; Johnny McElhone. further down the road to his thirties. the experience. having played in the past with both Altered Images and Hipsway. This twosome were the original nucleus of the band. the core that recorded the demo. were signed by Phonogram. and endured a disastrous recording stint with Chic‘s Bernard Edwards in America. They came back to Glasgow to start again. They were looking for. in the words of Sharleen. ‘a guitarist who was exciting and slightly different. who brought a lot ofdifferent feeling to the band and played a lot ofdifferent styles. Then we were introduced to Ali. . .‘
Ali McErlaine is he ofthe street-urchin impudence. and the precocious talent from extracting manna from his instrument (that’s his guitar). With the addition of Stuart Kerr. former drummer with Friends Again and Love & Money. Texas were whole.
From the four came the sound of Soulhside. an album released in
spring and which skilfully married Texas‘ preferences for the rich heritage of American blues and their awareness of the rock sensibilities of the late ‘80s. It was sound that was unashamedly basic. ‘organic‘ as Sounds described it. a desire to strip back the veneer of plastic and pretention that surrounded and stifled much of today's supposed ‘rock' bands. The punters were impressed. Within a few months of its release. the album had sold 500.000 copies in Britain and Europe. Follow-up tours across the land saw a band preaching to a converted. rabid audience.
Naturally enough. America beckoned. Japan had already been conquered. and so by logical progression Texas found themselves recording the video for their third single. Everyday Now. in the Deep South. and touring the States in October and November. showing wildly enthusiastic audiences how four snotty kids from Glasgow could play American guitar rock better than most Americans.
Worldwide. Southside has now sold a million copies. and as if to emphasise Texas' leap to stardom they became stadium rockers. supporting the bloated kings ofthe genre. Simple Minds. in Britain. Thankfully. Texas‘ modest
hell-for-leather aspirations have not been neutered by playing to football fields full ofpitiful Minds' fans. nor by general global domination. As testified by their live performances. in response to Sounds" front cover headline of last week. white kids can in fact play the blues.
Yet as we approach Texas’ ‘back home‘ gigs at Barrowlands. the band face a crossroads in their still-tentative career. Singles two and three from the album couldn‘t follow the promise of] Don 't WantA Lover. and Prayer For You. the latest release. will probably perform equally dismally. It could well be that that distinctive Texas sound is so distinctive that it has become. well. passe. or even. dare we say it. boring. Their new album. expected towards the end of next year. will have to be a killer. and a killer with a new direction to boot. Otherwise the fading thrill ofthe moment may disappear altogether.
Yet for now. Texas Back Home Live will be the pinnacle of a volcanic year for the band, and a fitting testament to the twelve months when a bunch ofoiks from Glasgow stamped their ‘gutsy guitar twang' on the pop-rock world‘s conciousness. Texas play Barrowland on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 December.
M3| Agud 9'3"" or wolssm 68 mos L8 zzvr 22 uses
boys‘ concern at rain-forest destruction — hence the rather weedy sleeve shots of dying trees. Now we know that Save A Prayer wasn‘t just about SEX but about the environment too. That’s clever. (CMcL)
I Erasure: You Surround Me (Mute) Once again. Erasure present a word to the wise. A talcof melancholy plucked from an album ofcracking. chart-friendly tunes. Sensitivity on vinyl. pleasure on cars. Erasure are the brightest star atop a Christmas tree daubcd aplenty with tacky baubles. (CMCL) IThe Assassins: Where's Joey Gone (Rough Trade) Stone Roses (tor)mentor John Leckie produces the debut single from The Assassins and. alas. nothing leaps out to grab us. Instead. the vocals are a poor pastich of David Bowie. and the guitars are so unrestrained that they wander out of the gate. down the lane and are never seen again. indie-pop groups in the rut again. (CMcL) I A Guy Called Gerald: FX/Eyes 0t Sorrow (Substate) OK OK. the sound of a million Mancunian Pac-A-Macs.l know. but this doesn't really cut it in the same league as the Mondays or 808 State or even Gerald's previous stuff. FX forms part of the ‘soundtrack' to the novel Trip City. hopefully not as vapid a read as the music suggests. Then again. this does sound naggineg familiar. and we all know familiarity breeds success in chart terms. (T.L.)
I We Are Going To Eat You: Ride Upon The Tide (Big Cat) Now this is spunky. One of ‘89s boldest hopes return with a drummer sounding like he‘s on speed. a guitarist with a penchant for NOISE. and a vocalist with the voice of an angelswigging snakebite. Punchy stuff with more guts than a mangled cat on a dual-carriageway. ((.‘Mcl.)
The List 8—21 December 198931