Monday, 29 May 2017

[Album Review] The Mavericks - Brand New Day

American country-band the Mavericks return with their 9th studio album, a joyous pop-country number that, though lacking the big hitters of some of their earlier albums, is a fun and happy LP that actually deviates away from the standard country formula with hints of Elvis Costello in parts.

'Brand New Day', with its references to Willie Nelson and folky-country hoe-down style is a joyous opener and though it shares plenty of DNA with Kacey Musgraves 'Family is Family' is a clap-a-long line-dancing perky opener. Track two is the title song and is another uplifting number about settling down with "the one" and though some of the lyrics dart around some cliches it's a smooth little number. 'Easy As It Seems' is a funky almost jazzy number with layered production and a retro sound. It sounds nothing like a Mavericks song, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does lack a strong structure, but offers something fresh early on. It's a similar vibe to the brass-heavy swagger of 'I Think Of You' which is more swing than country, but a fun sweet number.

'Goodnight Waltz' is the longest song on the album, boasting an opening 90-second instrumental, and also the slowest. It's gentle and touching with hints of romance, but is not the most gripping of tracks. 'Damned (If You Do)', which kicks off the second half, is the most interesting song in a while though still feels quite subdued for the band, but the mariachi-style is fun and adds some spark. 'I Will Be Yours' continues the gentle vibe whilst there's a rock-and-roll style to 'Ride With Me' with hints of country more in the lyrics than the music, which skirts around an assortment of genres and fades out after bumbling along nicely. 'I Wish You Well', with its further French-feeling use of accordion, again comes and goes and leaves minimal impact, and though 'For the Ages' is musically similar it has more of an identity and bounces along well, with Raul Molo's likeable vocals again on top form, but it feels like a rather low-key conclusion even if it does have a nice sing-a-long vibe and the chanting end feels like the most different part of the whole record, and suggests it could be a good live number.

'Brand New Day' is an enjoyable enough album from the Mavericks with plenty of enjoyable little songs that play out well but for those looking for their musical heights of 'Trampoline' and its ilk will find this lacking in big hitters. (6/10)

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