The Mavericks

Music for All Occasions

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After the commercial and critical success of What a Cryin' Shame, the Mavericks were given a bit more creative latitude while making their fourth album, 1995's Music for All Occasions; lead vocalist Raul Malo co-produced the disc, and the '50s pop accents that were bubbling under the surface on their previous set began to rise to the surface, both in their music and in the wink-and-nudge camp of the album's artwork. Malo's deeply emotive tenor voice was made to order for polished supper-club pop tunes like "Foolish Heart" and "Missing You," and while the production and arrangements here possess an appropriate degree of high gloss, the band still finds room to let their own personalities shine though, especially guitarist Nick Kane, who makes with some fine hipster jazz picking. The Mavericks do inject a little classic country into this set, most notably the potent two-step of "The Writing on the Wall," and they were able to have their cake and eat it too with the melodramatic "Here Comes the Rain" and the lively Tex-Mex rave-up "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" (featuring Flaco Jimenez on accordion), both of which were major hits. While What a Cryin' Shame was a slam dunk of an album, Music for All Occasions is a slyer, more subtle affair, and the polished cool of its surfaces aren't as immediately inviting, but the record's abundant pleasures become clear upon repeated listenings, and its one of the group's best and most accomplished studio sets.

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