Few bands have gotten as far in Nashville while displaying little if any concern for the conventions of Music City record making as the Mavericks, and since they reunited in 2012, they seem to realize there isn’t much of a place for them on the radio in a market saturated by bro-country, so they’ve followed their own muse, which has served them quite well in the past. 2015’s Mono doesn’t sound like a country album, but it sure sounds like the Mavericks, dipping into a variety of different styles with soul, smarts, and a sense of fun while Raul Malo‘s glorious voice sweeps over it all. As the title suggests, Mono was recorded and mixed in single-channel audio, which gives the album a richly saturated sound that suits the Mavericks‘ retro moods, and from the old-school rock & roll shuffle of “Stories We Could Tell” and the sweet romantic mood of “Let It Rain (On Me)” to the potent Latin rhythms of “What You Do to Me” and the first-generation ska of “Summertime (When I’m with You),” this music feels like it was meant to be played in a dancehall with a crowd of Saturday night revelers whooping it up or slow dancing to the fine sounds. Malo and his bandmates — Eddie Perez on guitar, Jerry Dale McFadden on keyboards, and Paul Deakin on drums — are blessed with imagination, chops, and a sure sense of what feels right, and Mono is the work of a band just smart enough that sometimes the body is just as important as the frontal lobes. The Mavericks understand how to satisfy both, and Mono is an album that will keep you dancing to its beats and smiling to its wit and romance ’til the break of dawn.
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