The Mavericks “In Time” (Valory Music)
The Mavericks are making a comeback, and fans of their buoyant, genre-busting sound should greet their long-awaited new album, aptly named “In Time,” with open arms and ears. The Nashville, Tenn.-based band's reunion after an eight-year hiatus offers a welcome balm for country fans weary of the format's current obsession with party-hearty Southern arena rock.
Formed in 1989 in Miami, Fla., the progressive, polyrhythmic country/rock band earned widespread acclaim and notched hits in the 1990s with “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” “Here Comes the Rain” and “Dance the Night Away.” On the Grammy-winning group's seventh full-length album, Cuban-American singer-songwriter Raul Malo's voice is just as rich and dramatic as ever, and his musical cohorts — multi-instrumentalist Robert Reynolds, drummer Paul Deakin, guitarist Eddie Perez and keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden — are so talented and self-assured that you get the sense they could easily play anything from tangos to polkas.
And that's just what they do on “In Time,” an album that's so freewheeling and eclectic that you can hardly wait to hear what's coming next with each of its 14 tracks. From the opening horn blasts of the bouncy “Back in Your Arms Again,” it's clear The Mavericks intend to mix up divergent sonic with the reckless energy of mad scientists. Mariachi trumpets, surf guitars and an insistent squeezebox keep “All Over Again” zipping along at a dizzying clip, while Caribbean, polka and old-school country influences ricochet cheerfully on “Dance in the Moonlight.”
Malo channels Roy Orbison with the retro-pop “Born to Be Blue,” while the sorrowful waltzes “In Another's Arms” and “Forgive Me” let him unleash his inner crooner. Someone please send Quentin Tarantino a copy of “Come Unto Me,” because the dusty ballad just belongs in a really great spaghetti Western. The Spanish-language reprise “Ven Hacia Mi” actually manages to get even sexier and more sweeping. The Mavericks also bring a grand cinematic scope to the album's most epic track, the 8 ½-minute “(Call Me) When You Get to Heaven,” featuring the appropriately angelic guest vocals of the McCrary Sisters.
— Brandy McDonnell