Scottish soul survivors

Toto, I don't think we're in Texas anymore

Toto, I don't think we're in Texas anymore. We're closer to Philadelphia, or maybe Detroit Motor City, in a place where Sharleen Spiteri has recently found her soul, and uncovered a new old-fashioned sound for her band.

Scottish band Texas, erstwhile purveyors of arid country-rock, have now "gone r & b", and they underlined their new commitment by bringing a DJ onstage with them at the Olympia last night. As he scratched out the vintage vinyl rhythms, guitarist Ally McErlaine started the shak atak alert, and Prayer For You made its grand entrance.

Halo is a big, brash tune, and Sharleen's voice is its crowning glory, spitting righteous fire over an adoring crowd. Insane pits Sharleen's piercing screams against some discordant keyboard runs, resulting in a calm, balanced tune, but You Owe It All To Me exposes some conflict between the old country and the new rhythm. Ditto I Don't Want A Lover, which now sounds like something from another band in another era. White On Blonde and Postcards are more up to speed, and they cruise nicely on Sharleen's undulating vocals; when a day-glo ghetto-blaster is brought onstage for Put Your Arms Around Me, the mood is lifted to high tide level.

A Brian Wilson song, I'm So Lonely, proves a strange if well-chosen cover, but a version of TLC's Waterfalls does little more than show off Sharleen's impressive technique. Marvin Gaye's You're All I Need To Get By, however, hits the spot, letting Sharleen and the band unchain their souls.


Black Eyed Boy ends the set with a bang, but Texas bound quickly back onstage for an encore, eager to hold on to the mood. A big, scratchy intro leads into the rolling guitar lick of Say What You Want, and Sharleen adds in another dash of Marvin Gaye, smiling at the mischievous hint of sexual stealing. Texas used to be a sputtering old steamtrain - now they're a purring cadillac with whitewalls and velvet seats.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist