All is forgiven in happy reunion
By Mike Joyce
Friday, April 5, 2013
Given the Mavericks’ less-than-
amicable breakup nearly a decade ago, a successful reboot wasn’t exactly a sure bet. But “In Time” erases all doubt in no time.
Credit frontman Raul Malo for that. Not only does Malo sing with signature passion -- his dramatic, tenor-pitched vocals make flattering comparisons with Roy Orbison all but inevitable -- he wrote or co-wrote the album’s 13 songs, and there isn’t a real dud to be found. Starting with the apt opener, “Back in Your Arms Again,” the performances suggest that Malo may have been stashing some of his best songs for this long-awaited get-together all along. “Come Unto Me,” a standout spaghetti western vignette (think Orbison teaming with Quentin Tarantino) firmly underscores that impression, and when the jazz-tinged torch ballad “Forgive Me” and the hypnotic tango “(Call Me) When You Get to Heaven” arrive, Malo’s knack for tailoring songs that perfectly suit his distinctive voice couldn’t be more evident.
As the album’s co-producer, Malo also scores points for emphasizing the band’s colorful, cross-cultural reach, relying heavily on guitarist Eddie Perez’s honky tonk reverberations, keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden’s Tex-Mex flavors and drummer Paul Deakin’s Latin polyrhythms. Capping the album in rousing fashion, Malo reprises “Come Unto Me,” this time singing in Spanish with robust soulfulness.
Most enjoyable class reunion
After a notoriously messy breakup and nine-year absence, the Mavericks are reuniting for a summer tour and a fall album release. Reports indicate the mood is harmonious and high-spirited onstage -- good news for fans but maybe not so good for lawyers. Raul Malo remains one of the most distinctive and versatile vocalists in country music, as his solo career attests. And with six studio albums to draw from, plus the new music, the Mavericks should keep fans guessing between performances of "There Goes My Heart," "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" and other favorites.
--Mike Joyce, June 1, 2012