Listening to the third album from this Glasgow-based quintet is like finding out that the prom dale you liked but lost touch with years ago grew up to be some Hollywood stud or studette. The band was fun, but after being out of sight for a couple of years, it has matured into a real stunner.
Around 1986 the group got noticed in alternative circles for its blend of R&B, rock, folk and country. "Ricks Road," however, showcases a band that has settled into a rich groove. Each of the 12 songs, from the jangly twang of "So Called Friend" to the rock crunch of "Fade Away," sounds like can't-miss hits.
The record works because it lacks pretense. It's just back-to-basics American music—from a bunch of Scots—made all the grittier thanks to singer Sharleen Spiteri. Most prom dates may be forgotten, but "Ricks Road" is worth taking out again and again. (Mercury)