Orange Juice

Texas Fever

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

By the time Orange Juice headed into the studio to record their third album, they were coming off the biggest hit of their career (the "Rip It Up" single), but also in classic OJ timing, splintering into two parts as well. When they left the studio some time later, the album had become an EP and two of the members (guitarist Malcolm Ross and original bassist David McClymont) had flown the coop. Despite the tumult, the resulting music is textbook OJ guitar pop that brims with shiny hooks, snarkily sophisticated lyrics, and bubbling rhythms. Edwyn Collins turns in the usual clutch of witty, impossibly catchy songs that really sound like hits, but somehow ended up misses instead. "Bridge" should have ridden its highly danceable grooves, raging guitar leads, and corny handclaps to the top of the charts; "Craziest Feeling" has wonderfully peppy verses that should have endeared it to the masses; and "The Day I Went Down to Texas" is a typically classy track with a brilliantly placed double-time chorus that simply screams Motown in the best non-copycat way. The other three songs aren't far off the pace either, with a lovely Hi Records-inspired ballad ("A Place in My Heart"), a little jittery disco-punk ("Punch Drunk"), and a downcast yet still wonderfully melodic and romantic track ("A Sad Lament") all sounding great. Texas Fever may have been born of discord and frustration, but no matter. It's still classic Orange Juice, and that means it's right up there with the best music the post-punk era had to offer.

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