I’m a bit late to this party—In Time came out last February—and what a party I’ve been missing. The Mavericks packed quite a punch by the time they disbanded nearly a decade ago, but they’ve never sounded better than they do on this ambitious reunion album.
The improved results notwithstanding, the recipe is the one that the Miami-based band has been using all along: mix Latin, Tex-Mex, and rockabilly with a whole lot of bar-band rock and roll, and add a bit of Bakersfield-style country twang—but trash anything that sounds like traditional Nashville. The end result is a truly maverick blend that defies classification.
Raol Malo’s operatic voice remains a prime ingredient. He’s often compared to Roy Orbison, and if you want to know why, listen to a shimmering torch ballad like In Time’s “Forgive Me.” Speaking of Malo, he co-produced the set and also wrote or co-wrote all 14 tracks here, but this is no one-man show; on the contrary, the magnificent band plays a big role in the album’s success. When they pick up the beat and build to a crescendo on infectious rave-ups like “Back in Your Arms Again,” “Born to Be Blue” and “All Over Again,” the combination of guitar, organ, accordion, and brass recalls the energy of a locomotive barreling down a track at a hundred miles an hour. The chemistry between these guys is so good that you’ll wonder why they ever split up.