MARCH ALBUM OF THE MONTH
There is clearly something in the water in Wales: Fireroad, Buffalo Summer, The Starling Radicals, Florence Black, Those Damn Crows, Kane’d and, of course, The Texas Flood. They are back with a new album and that magic water in Wales clearly has no limits. Someone should bottle it and ship it off to London. South Wales is fast becoming a new home for some of the most interesting young rock acts in Britain today. In a post-Brexit Britain where London was shown to be woefully out of step with the country at large, so the British rock revival is also gathering pace from all corners of the UK – and The Texas Flood are one of many jewels in the crown of what can now be called ‘a movement.’
The Texas Flood return this month with their eagerly awaited follow-up to ‘Young Dogs Old Tricks’ and fears of how the band would tackle that ‘difficult second album’ can be cast aside in an instant. This new album boldly continues from where the last album left off, takes some big steps forward and throws in some new twists. It’s an album that’s, quite simply, almost impossible to dislike. That is the beauty of this band: their music is alive, fun, feel-good and totally unpretentious.
‘Aint No Cowboy’ gives a nod to Southern Rock. One could easily imagine The Flood joined by their buddies from Bad Touch and belting this out together on stage alongside Stevie & Co’s new track ‘Outlaw.’ That said, it would be wrong to overstate the Southern Rock references. The band’s music also draws on a very British blues-rock tradition and -add in the dirty riffs and at times outrageously good funk input from Ben on the bass – a truer picture emerges. Add further the boys own sense of humour and that unmistakeable hint of gritty authenticity you get with Welsh bands and you have the band’s true sound. To me, The Texas Flood don’t really sound like anyone else, they sound like The Texas Flood. The combination that makes them what they are makes their music instantly recognisable as their own, in the way one remembers with early Queen records.
‘Treading Water’ ushers in lots of fun from the funky bass department and is one of those Flood songs that will have you dancing round the kitchen table as your supper slowly burns in the oven. ‘Forget About You’ was a track I aired some months ago as an acoustic track. Rocked up here on the album, it’s a real grower with real depth. With each early listen of the album, this song became more and more a standout track and it continues well the tradition of the last album for lovers of ‘Let The Wind Blow.’
‘Heroes’ and ‘Reason to Run’ are perhaps two of the high points of the album. ‘Heroes’ is a step up, the interaction between the band really exciting as the song unfolds – and it brings out a great guitar solo. In ‘Reason To Run’ we have a rousing anthem with a great sense of drama and crescendo – one can imagine it as a great live show closer before the encores. Even a taste of some keys action here, and whilst the bass and drums work is great throughout the album, this is a song where the guitar riffs really pull you in.
‘Lucky’ has a rougher feel but along with ‘Over You’ and ‘Roses’ here we have a trio of classic Texas Flood stompers – full octane bouncers to jump around to – and throw some plates around while your already burnt supper turns to charcoal in the oven.
What really impresses me about this album is all three instruments are front-and-centre and the way they work together creates the excitement that is the band’s sound. A bit like Toto or even iconic trio Rush, you can sense The Texas Flood just jamming these songs out – the magic is in the very strong natural chemistry and understanding between each of the musicians that makes their music sound natural and alive. Nothing forced or manufactured. The band isn’t imitating someone else and the music isn’t trying to be too clever. It’s fun and music that will put a smile on your face even if you’re having a bad day. That ultimately is the power and value of great music over good music.
Having aired it a few times on my rock show, ‘Up in Smoke’ is to me the song that bridges the two albums – a short, fast-paced tour-de-force that makes you decide in about three seconds “OK, this is going to be a good album!” The track has quickly become a real listener favourite and has radio single written all over it.
The title of the album – ‘Over Worked & Under Paid’ – has typical Flood humour to it but also a deeper truth in referencing the task faced by so many emerging rock bands today. Establishing a foothold and a reputation for young bands is hard work in a climate of closing grassroots venues and a media that too often plays it safe with old classics. There are manufactured bands out there, sometimes backed by machines making bands think they are great before, in truth, they are household names. As a counterpoint to this, The Texas Flood is an honest band and their music authentic and true. They have been one of the most requested bands on my rock show for the last 18 months because their music has a spirit and a mood that lasts the test of time.
‘Over Worked & Under Paid’ is proof the debut album by The Texas Flood was not a one-off – and there is a subtle confidence behind the new music that suggests the best is yet to come. So if you’ve had a bad day, put this music on loud, jump around and let your supper burn. With ‘Over Worked & Under Paid’ it’s time to feel the Flood.
‘Over Worked & Under Paid’ is released in the UK on 31 March 2017.
To discover more about The Texas Flood and pre-order information, visit www.thetexasflood.co.uk
My four-part pledge campaign interview series with the band is uploaded on greatmusicstories.com site to enjoy as listen again.