While scouring the Internet for a little information on the unknown, unsigned New York City band, Alice Texas, the only info I could dig up was not in reference to the band, but to the town of Alice, Texas. During the course of my endeavor, I found that Alice, Texas has a population of 21,000 and is located 42 miles west of Corpus Christi, plus several other interesting bites of information that I won’t elaborate on here. However, a cursory listen to Alice Texas’ debut release, Gold, leaves me wishing that I was writing a paper about the small Texas town, than a review about this disc.
Vocalist Alice Schneider is the purveyor of the gloom and despair here. Her somber, moderately tempoed numbers take on an almost country flavor, but are nonetheless boring and depressing. She attempts to draw from the same well as PJ Harvey, but lyrically and vocally she lacks the talent to completely captivate listeners—to hold their attention. While bassist Robert Vickers (Go-Betweens), drummer Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave, Sonic Youth) and guitarist Peter Mavrogeorgis do an excellent job of creating the ominous atmosphere, it completely looses steam when Schneider enters the picture with her annoying, amateurish vocals.
If there is a positive to take from Gold, it would definitely be “Big, Black Motorcycle”. One of the few uptempoed songs on the disc, its contagious groove coupled with biting guitar riffs make this song a genuine toe-tapper and to Schneider’s credit, one of her better performances.
Unless you just enjoy being lulled into an acute state of depression, you’ll stay away from Alice Texas’ Gold. But since the band is unsigned, most of us won’t have to worry too much about ever encountering it; and you can thank your lucky stars for that.