Texas are one of the few bands who have not only stayed consistently good over the years, but who have actually improved with time, aging like a fine wine since their early days in the late 80’s. In my opinion the band’s last album, Jump On Board, is probably the best thing they’ve done so to say that I was looking forward to the latest offering would be a bit of an understatement.
The album opens with Mr. Haze which has quickly become one of my go-to tracks recently. It is an upbeat blend of pop and soul, with a catchy, hands in the air chorus that’s backed up by a sample of Love’s Unkind by Donna Summer. Not only is it one of the best openings to an album I’ve heard in a while, but it is bound to be one of my summer anthems for many for years to come.
Next up is title album’s title track, Hi and features one of the oddest collaborations I’ve seen a while and as it sees the iconic Wu-Tang Clan taking the lead here with Sharleen Spiteri’s vocal contributions bookending the fanatic lyrical work from the Staten Island legends.
Just Want to Be Liked follows and brings a slight Latin American feel to proceedings before we take a surprising turn into Unbelievable. Unbelievable is sombre and haunting ballad that feels like the darker cousin of Say What You Want but it helps showcase Spiteri’s powerful, and frankly vastly underappreciated vocal ability.
Moonstar was probably my least favourite of the singles leading up to the release of Hi but here, within the context of the album I’ve found myself enjoying it a lot more and Dark Fire is an interesting little song to follow. Dark Fire doesn’t stick around long and is lovely little song to tie up what is essentially the first half of what has already been one of the standout albums of the year.
Next up, we have Look What You’ve Done which features sensational guest performance by Clare Grogan of Altered Images. The track features wonderful performances by both Spitreri and Grogan with each singer’s voice complimenting the other beatifufully.
Heaven Knows follows and carries us through to You Can Call Me which as a little In Demand vibe to it and I think is one that’s sure to please long time fans by providing that familiar Texas sound. Sound of My Voice is another upbeat number which is sure to get your foot tapping and Falling would normally be a perfect way to draw the album to a close if it wasn’t the fact that we’ve still got a couple of tracks left to go.
The standard edition of the album finishes up with the single mix of Hi, this time without Wu-Tang Clan and to be honest I actually think I like this version of the track a little bit more. As for the deluxe version of the album, that finishes up with Had A Hard Day and Had to Leave.
Aside from the interesting conversations I’m bound to have with my mum over the next few days when I try to explain who Wu-Tang Clan are, Hi is a wonderful release worthy of a spot in anyone’s CD collection. People still buy CD’s right?
The weird thing is, people often talk about a band being in their prime as if that time is limited but Texas have been in their prime for over 20 years now and they show no sign of slowing down or stopping anytime soon. As much as I love the previous album and as much as I love Texas as a whole, I was actually ready for Hi to disappoint me and never it did.
by Edward Laing