Review Summary: ...
Released as a taster for the new record that's set to drop this fall, Texicali
contains ZZ Top's first studio recordings since 2003's Mescalero and also, the first ones with producer Rick Rubin. However, Rubin didn't change or strip ZZ Top's approach simply because the previous albums were already bare bones and what this little ol' band from Texas does for 43 years now is enough to sweep newcomers off their feet and keep old fans more than happy. Still, they needed an outside voice to keep them focused and so far it's working.
As a result, everything found here has been done before and most probably there won't be any big surprises on the upcoming album, but the songs on Texicali
are a fine example of ZZ Top having fun. "I Gotsta Get Paid" is an interpretation of fellow texans DJ DMD, Lil' Keke & Fat Pat's hip hop song "25 Lighters", but the guys translate it really well into their world and it can fit anywhere on their post Recycler albums. "Chartreuse" and "Consumption" both have that dirty ZZ Top feel, featuring tongue in cheek lyrics and Gibbons' most raucous vocals yet. These whiskey vocals help a lot to the mood, along with the murkier sound the band have developed since the 90s. Last track, "Over You", is the usual ZZ Top blues number and while it isn't necessarily up there with classics like "Blue Jean Blues" or "Rough Boy" is really enjoyable on its own.
One listen is enough for Texicali
to make you await the new album, only because after 9 years ZZ Top are finally releasing something new. There's nothing different from what they've done before, but these guys do their job damn well and don't feel tired as other bands at their age.