Checking 'em Out * * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty : : Textones Come Close

* * 1/2THE TEXTONES. "Cedar Creek." Enigma. Carla Olson has yet to make an album that does justice to her considerable talents as a songwriter and performer. But the Textones' second album (though the band's been around for nine years!) comes close on a few songs. "Gotta Get Back Home" justifies all the Tom Petty/John Fogerty comparisons Olson has received over the years, while "Austin" (a look at the changes in her home town, a la the Pretenders' "My City Was Gone"), the title song and "We Can Laugh About It" offer three different takes on wistful nostalgia without being maudlin. It's probably no coincidence that these highlights are four of the five songs written by Olson herself (the latter with her Textones co-founder Kathy Valentine), while the less noteworthy material was penned by other band members. But even the best songs suffer from the same kind of nondescript, conventional arrangements that made the Textones' 1984 debut album less than it should have been too.

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