Texas

Mothers Heaven

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Texas is a good name for this band, whose sound is open, brooding and just a bit on the twangy side; if you can imagine a sound somewhere between the dour, minimalist bluesiness of Cowboy Junkies and the yearning, gospel-tinged bombast of early U2, you'll have a good idea what to expect. Singer Sharleen Spiteri has the perfect voice for this kind of thing: it's low-ptched and dark-hued, and is shown off to best effect when she's belting out big, cathartic numbers like the title track and "Why Believe in You." Ally McErlaine is a brilliant slide guitarist who can move from grungy, greasy rock to desolate acoustic Delta blues without missing a beat. It's true that the group still needs to digest its influences a bit -- "Dream Hotel," in particular, sounds like a U2 reject -- but most of the time, Texas does a good job of mapping out its own territory. And this is just their second album, remember.

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