The Mavericks sound like they’re having more fun than ever on their fizzy new album Brand New Day | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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The Mavericks sound like they’re having more fun than ever on their fizzy new album Brand New Day

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Quirky Americana band the Mavericks ended a nine-year hiatus in 2012 by picking up exactly where they left off, embracing a sprawling admixture of styles with more energy and ambition than ever before. Unfortunately their 2013 comeback album, In Time, was a bloated affair, written as though they were desperate to make up for lost time. But now, having recently formed their own Mono Mundo label to release the new Brand New Day, the Mavericks seem to have settled into their strengths. There’s nothing especially novel about the music—unless you count the odd addition of bluegrass banjo to the Tex-Mex that otherwise flavors opener “Rolling Along”—but the hybrids have never sounded or felt so natural, and that’s thanks mostly to the outsize presence of singer Raul Malo, who infuses his soulful pipes with showbiz ham. On the title track he goes for romantic gusto, promising “You’re not the first but you will be my last” in a voice that suggests Roy Orbison emulating Memphis-era Elvis Presley, while the starry-eyed quasi-polka “I Think of You” sounds like it was conceived for Bobby Vinton. The album closer, “For the Ages,” is another ebullient love song that collides Tex-Mex with western swing, one band member laughing in the background a la Bob Wills. At times the production, with gospel vocal harmonies courtesy of the McCrary Sisters and a complement of horns and strings, can be overripe, but in general it suits the songs’ fizzy joy.   v

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