“Life’s too short, let’s work it out,” is the presciently relevant chorus refrain from the lead single of Texas’ brilliant, fresh and infectious 9th studio album, Jump On Board. “Sometimes,” smiles Sharleen Spiteri, “you just want your hands in the air, spinning around in circles, singing your head off. We’re a bit older, hopefully a little wiser and it’s just like, let’s sort things out, let’s not fight about things anymore”. The video, too, is euphoric, featuring Thierry Henry, the football legend driving the pair through the neon city-scape to some life-affirming disco paradise.
Jump On Board is the sound of a band totally comfortable in their own skin, bursting with great songs influenced by Northern Soul, Disco, seminal British groups like the Bee-Gees, Orange Juice and with more than a passing nod to Sharleen’s co- founder Johnny McElhone’s first band, Altered Images. In 2017 Texas are buoyed with brand new possibilities and belief in their craft, Sharleen and her musical soul-mate Johnny, two proven world-class song-writers now at the peak of their life-long game. “The passion for song-writing, I don’t think it’s ever been stronger than it is now,” says Sharleen. “I’m more in love with it than ever.”
Jump On Board began in early 2016, written and self-produced in the band’s studio in Glasgow, where the songs flowed easily, fresh ideas effortlessly chiming with Texas’ innate song-writing nous. “We were very conscious it wouldn’t just be, ‘hi, we’re doing another Texas album’,” says Sharleen. “We were aware of me singing in a different way. People know my voice, they know I can sing. But how would it be if I didn’t just do me? And what happened was, with the band all having input, it was a very happy and fun record to make, we were all throwing ideas at each other. We didn’t want to go out and work with lots of different songwriters, this time we wanted it to just be us and some friends. We wanted this to feel like a record that was part of all of our collective soul, that felt free”. The band were joined in the rehearsal rooms and writing sessions by Jack Townes and Angelica Bjornsson, part of the band’s inner circle, bringing a young and fresh perspective and creative energy into the process.
The potential hits, from here, keep coming. ‘Can’t Control’ is haunting, dazzling electro-pop echoing the cinematic expanse of Lana del Rey, while the beautiful, intimate ‘For Everything’ rises heavenwards to a spell-binding, gospel-backed crescendo. “It’s probably the most I’ve ever given lyrically in a song,” notes Sharleen. “Saying I love you because of the journey we’ve been on, the things we’ve gone through, don’t ever think it’s all about you, or all about me.” ‘It Was Up To You’ is a crisp and emotive atmospheric while ‘Tell That Girl’ is an urgent, widescreen epic, another of those signature Texas sounds. “Elements of the album do take you back to the beginning of Texas,” she muses, “ I think that maybe comes from the freedom, from being connected with each other as a band.”
Texas have never been scared of doing their own thing, a band with rare longevity, Jump On Board marking a distinct flair, and igniting thrilling flashes of those benchmark, beloved hits; ‘Say What You Want’, ‘Halo’, ‘Black Eyed Boy’, ‘Summer Son’, songs spanning an almost thirty year career and 40 million album sales. “It’s got all those elements,” decides Sharleen, “but that wasn’t what we were trying to do, I would love to think we were that clever!”
“The album does talk about getting older,” says Sharleen. “It says, ‘Now I’m older I have peace of mind.’ I’m fifty this year and I do have peace of mind. I spent some time in India after our last tour, and it gave me some clarity around my life- I think that’s informed the lyrics on this record, maybe a heightened sense of tolerance, caring about people, awareness of others? I’m very sure of who I am. I’m very sure of what I want in my life. And who I want in my life. And I definitely know who I don’t want in my life!”
It’s the positive, real, human thread woven throughout Jump On Board, a compassionate, fun and positive record, knowing the journey is ultimately what counts. And everyone’s invited along for the ride.
“I’m in this because I wanna make music and I wanna write great songs, in a great band, who love what they do, and by doing that I hope we can bring some positivity and joy into people’s lives” concludes Sharleen. “As an older woman I feel very lucky to be doing it this length of time. It’s a real privilege. Because there’s not a lot of us out there who have done it. So Jump On Board is saying take a risk in life. Nothing great happens without risk. All the great loves, all the great stories, all the great businesses, all the great art, it’s always been done with an element of risk. So give it a shot, don’t go for the safe option. If you get to that point in your life you might as well be dead!”
In 2017, Texas have never sounded more alive, a stunning British success story which is far from over yet, Jump On Board both a stirring regeneration and ecstatic confirmation of a lifetime’s belief in the power of universal pop. “We feel refreshed,” smiles Sharleen. “We definitely had a great time making this record. It’s time to jig it all up, it’s like a new beginning. This is the next part of our story. And we’re loving it.”
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