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Mavericks - Mavericks - CD -

Price per Unit (stuk): €3.95

On their first album since 1998, the Mavericks have finally made a Career Move that Matters--they’ve ditched the desperate, ultra-cool factor and settled down to play straight-head, unselfconscious pop. If Raul Malo & Company had simply done this earlier, it might have buoyed their off-and-on career, and moved them beyond country radio, where they never really belonged in the first place. As such, the album signifies a rebirth, reflected in the self-titling of what amounts to their reunion album. From the opening cut, the driving "I Wanna Know," the band immerses itself in the thrill and energy of ‘60s British pop, with the usual side trips to the graves of Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, and to the sonic birthplace of Malo’s Cuban heritage. While a faithful remake of the Hollies’ "The Air That I Breathe" closes the record, it sets the scene for the album as a whole with its grandiose and theatrical homage to obsessive love. At last, the melodramatic Malo never sounds overreaching, because he’s made the material match his nearly operatic vision. Throughout, The Mavericks is smart, sophisticated, and knowing, from its lush and sensuous cocktail forays ("Wondering," "A Little Too Lonely"), to its sexy Latin come-on ("San Jose") and swingy shuffle ("Because of You"), the latter of which recalls the way Presley updated hoary country songs recycled from Hank Snow and Eddy Arnold. Still, it’s not the ghost of either of the big Hanks that hangs over this album, but Phil Spector. A dazzling comeback, and one of the year’s best albums.

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