Although they first broke into the limelight marketed as a country act in the 1990s, Miami's Mavericks, led by the soaring, Roy Orbison-like vocals of singer Raul Malo, and with a sound that blended country elements with Tex-Mex, Latin, and Cuban touches, along with pure pop, proved to be a little too diverse (OK, a lot diverse) for the narrow confines of Nashville's version of commercial country. The band parted ways as the decade closed, reunited for a single album in 2003, then split up again while Malo, always the focal point and the main songwriter in the group, went on to release several solo albums that explored different genre avenues before the Mavericks reunited once more in 2011. This album, In Time, is the result, and it's a further step away from anything resembling a mainstream country release, incorporating not only the Tex-Mex and Cuban influences the band was known for, but also the rhythms of polkas, tangos, and all manner of approaches, making them closer to a band like Los Lobos than to Tim McGraw or Jason Aldean, or whoever passes for the face of country music these days. Malo co-produced this set (with Niko Bolas), and he wrote or co-wrote all of the songs here, and his versatile and incredible vocals are, as they should be, the center of everything. Tracks like the floating shuffle "Back in Your Arms Again," the pop gem "Born to Be Blue," the Roy Orbison-like "That's Not My Name," and the powerful and relentless "(Call Me) When You Get to Heaven" (a stunning, passionate, and wrenching ballad that builds and rises to a honest-to-goodness bolero crescendo) prove that neither Malo nor the rest of the bandmembers have lost nary an inch during the layoff, and if anything, have grown much more explorative and adventurous. To say this album is a return to form wouldn't be quite correct. It's an extension of it.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett