for long enough. ‘We did it and that was the end of the chapter for us. That was it. Done. Finished. Gone.’ Spiteri says this with an exasperated finality. Texas needed to evolve or become extinct.
‘People were saying that we were taking a really big chance by changing.’ says Spiteri. dark eyes glittering. ‘I think that we’d have taken a bigger risk if we’d stayed the same. We’ve been away fora long time but we think that people would rather we stayed away for ten years and then come back with a brilliant record rather than just put out any old shit.’
What Texas did was to retreat into Spiteri’s home studio and reinvent themselves. White
0n [Nam/e is still a Texas album and fans of
the previous material will recognise it as such. but underneath Spiteri’s trademark vocals there are all sorts of dark and dirty things going on. The wide open spaces and upbeat honesty ofAmericana have been replaced by a more urban sophistication. The album opens with ‘().34’ — 34 seconds of paranoid synths swooping in and out of focus while samples of city sounds intrude on an atmosphere more Tricky than easy-going pop. The current single ‘Say What You Want’ is woven from a richer. more svelte. cloth while ‘Polo Mint City‘ finds Spiteri singing languidly over
looped sighs and bursts of chopped up beats. ‘Postcard’ has a harder edge. a distorted mess that contrasts with the mellow hip hop beats of ‘Good Advice’. the track co-written with the hip Grand Central production team of Rae and Christian.
‘We finished that record and we thought this is the best record we‘ve ever made. You get that gut feeling.’ beams Spiteri in full stream Glasgow patter-merchant mode. arms waving wildly to demonstrate just how good that gut feeling is. ‘We literally had that old sensation of the goose pimples on your arm again and that’s fantastic. We knew that this was something special and we knew what we had achieved was change. That was our goal.’
The inspiration for change came from something old. something borrowed but nothing of the blues which had helped shape the earlier Texas albums. Spiteri’s soulful
'People would rather we stayed away for years and then come back with a brilliant record than just put out any old shit.’
vocals are still the band’s mainstay and the essential pop structure of the songwriting are the old ingredients. ‘Then it was taking that and seeing what we can do that’s going to reallyjust fuck it up.’ she enthuses. ‘Then you get something that moves.
‘We’d always touched on soul music. We did Al Green’s “Tired Of Being Alone”. touched on The Temptations. Stevie Wonder songs. lt was always there and I felt very comfortable singing in that way. We thought. how are we going to do it to make it modern? There’s no point doing it the way the original people did. You don’t even touch that. So the question was “How do we do it and make it sound like our age group?"
‘To us. it’s the innocence of soul music which is the songwriting base. and vocal wise it‘s got that virginal. really personal sort of feel and that’s sexy.’
As to something borrowed. Texas drew on what Spiteri describes as ‘the dirtiest sounding thing — hip hop. Hip hop is totally dirty. filthy sex. We listened to a lot of really early hip hop stuff like early Tribe Called Quest. It’s not like a lot of the stuff which is around now that verges on rap and is really hard. There was always the toasting over the track and the rhythms. but there was always a melody. Even their rapping was sitting cool. Throw that together with the soul thing and you’ve got the perfect package. It was like “bang!”. the two of them sat perfectly with each other.’
If anything. people are taking to Texas with more enthusiasm now than in the past. Their concert at Glasgow’s Plaza has been stepped up to the Barrowland. A gig at the SECC is planned. as is one at the Albert Hall. London. Chris Evans. ‘we've known him since he was a local DJ’. has invited them onto TI"! Friday three times. Celebrity photographer Juergen Teller. another friend. took the fashionably raw snaps of Spiteri for the album cover. White 0n Blonde went to the Number One spot easily. Not that any of this seems to have turned Spiteri’s head. On a recent trip to New York. she did all of her record company business in double quick time so that she could spend the day shopping. Is that the Glasgow girl shining through“?
‘You go to Nike Town in New York and you buy a pair of trainers that cost you l()() quid here for £40 there. So yeah. that’s the Glaswegian girl coming out.’ she laughs.
Texas play Barrowland. Glasgow, Sun 16 Mar.
Big like Texas: 'We had that old sensation of goose pimples on your arm again’ 21 Feb-6 Mar 1997 TIIEUS'I'I