“I'm sending a message I'd like, hear it now”
In 1997 a little album named “White on Blonde” stormed the UK charts, reaching number 1 and propelling Sharleen Spiteri and the band to stardom. I remember being aged 15, sitting in my art & design classroom painting away, listening to the White on Blonde album feeling utter contentment and happiness for the brief period while in school where music was accepted as constructive and useful in an educational environment. The class would play songs such as “Put your arms around me”, “Halo” and the more obvious “Say what you want” repeatedly every art session engraving the album into my subconscious, creating positive associations between drawing, painting, and music.
Skip forward 20 years and imagine my delight when I noticed that Texas had released yet another album. Looking forward to recreating those precious memories from my youth, I procured the album and keenly had a listen.
The first track “Let’s work it out” begins with a rather funky yet relaxed guitar riff, then Sharleens’ soothing smooth vocals meander in with the lyrics, “take what you need now your through….” And thus begins an album that doesn’t make an immediate impression but instead slowly ingrains itself into the mind without you even realising it.
I described “Jump on Board” to my son as background music, perfect to relax the mind and aid concentration yet there seems to be no memorable standout, catchy hits to inspire or evoke emotion. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, as I previously described Bruno Mars’s album 24K Magic as “a grower not a shower,” and I was right, as I slowly fell in love with it. I do believe Texas “Jump On Board” will have the same effect, although maybe not in the same encapsulating way “White on Blonde” captured my soul 20 years ago.
For myself, the track that stands out more than the others, and sounds like the Texas I know and love has to be “Tell that Girl,” which has a great heavy bass and drum beat and a signature vocal from Sharleen, that if played loud enough, is enough to have me dancing and singing while washing the dishes and completing my other household chores. It might even just have some uplifting effect on you also. I really hope that this is one of the songs that will be released as a single as it has the most potential to inspire emotion.
“Jump on Board” ends with the song “Round the World,” which is another track that I believe could inspire emotion, eventually, if you have listened to it a few times. I tried to find some technical wording that could describe the song and instrumentation but it turns out I am pathetically rubbish at describing what musical instruments are playing at any given time, but I do believe that there are some lovely synths in there creating a roundness that completes the song, which would be rather boring without it.
All in all, I personally believe “Jump on Board” is a rather plain, generic pop album and doesn’t reflect the potential that the band has to create really outstanding songs that jump out at you. Don’t let this deter you from buying the album though, as over time it will creep into your head and then when you least expect it (maybe when you’re in the shower, or at an important meeting at work) an earworm that you “Can’t control” will replay one of the songs over and over in your head and the only cure will be to “Jump on board” and listen and listen, “Sending a message” that Texas “Won’t let you down.”
7 out of 10 stars
By Lesley-Ann Clubb