Review Summary: Texas is the Reason's debut is short, sweet, and to the point. While not as melodic and indie-based as their full length, and showing signs of obvious immaturity, it is a solid effort from a band that should have been far more important than they were.
It was the mid-nineties and the New York Hardcore scene of yesteryear was changing. While bands like Sick of it All and Madball stuck to the brutal hardcore punk that originated in the 80’s, other bands such as Quicksand were quickly morphing into a different, more angular style which would foreshadow the continuing evolution into the new millennium with the establishment of groups like Mind Over Matter and Glassjaw. However, as some bands began to move towards a more artistically challenging sound, one band was established from the ashes of bands like Shelter and 108 who pursued a more melodic and accessible sound. This band was Texas is the Reason; the band once known as “the next big thing” following the release of their seminal full length Do You Know Who You Are?
who would break up on the eve of signing to a major label and most likely changing the music landscape forever.
This EP was released the year prior to Do You Know Who You Are?
, and it is quite evident that the band had yet to really shed all of their hardcore influences as their full length would later show. The opening track, “If It’s Here When We Get Back It’s Ours” begins at a fairly strong clip, with heavy distortion and power chords to boot showing that the band was still fairly young when writing the EP. “Dressing Cold” continues in the vein of the opening moments of the EP, featuring the closest thing to a breakdown that the band would ever write, tribal-like drumming and all. “Antique” however is the first glimpse into what would be the sound that Texas is the Reason would become well known for, focusing on a more indie-rock aesthetic than the off-kilter melodic hardcore of the opening two tracks. The opening moments harkens back to the beautiful and pristine sound of Mineral, while the rest of the song is chaotic Midwestern emo at its best.
However, the crowning accomplishment of this EP is the lyrical content. Instead of being overly poetic or deep, guitarist/vocalist/lyricist Garrett Klahn focuses on being as honest and heart-on-his-sleeve as possible, which is admirable considering that very few bands presently are capable of doing that without sounding like saccharine twats. “Well I’m filing all the changes/down into all the pages/I think I’m feeling ok about myself” is a great example of Klahn’s lyrical prowess, and one that many people (myself included) can relate to.
Sure, Texas is the Reason
is not flawless by any means. The production is a bit amateurish, although that is to be expected on a relatively small indie label such as Revelation. Klahn’s vocals are rough at times as well. His relatively young age shows through in droves when his pitch fluctuates frequently. Also, there is nothing really deeply interesting going on that you will discover with repeated listens; it is a very surface record in that aspect. However, this EP is still a fun and worthwhile listen to see where the band that was poised to be one of the most important bands of the nineties came from.