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Texas: The Conversation

A return to their roots, with additional retro flourishes.

On their first release for eight years, following singer Sharleen Spiteri’s detour into solo work, Texas have gone back to basics, reconnecting with the solidly crafted simplicity of their earliest albums, Southside and Mother’s Heaven.

And beyond the sturdy pop-rock of Spiteri and bassist Johnny McElhone’s melodies, an outside player makes a sizable impression on proceedings. Seven of the 12 tracks were recorded at Richard Hawley’s studio in Sheffield, his evocatively retro fingerprints especially evident on the lovelorn ballad I Will Always and the girl-group swagger of If This Isn’t Real.

Bernard Butler also lends a hand, but the signature sound still revolves around Spiteri’s luscious voice, at its most alluring on the Blondie-like Hearts Are Made To Stray.