“I’m probably more methodical and deliberate than I used to be when I wrote,” admits the famed producer. “I used to fly through a bunch of stuff and see what sounded the best. That approach may have actually worked better at the time, but now I’ll work on a song longer and try and perfect it a little more.”
Formed as Zeitgeist in 1984, the local quartet gained national exposure via the 1986 Austin episode of MTV’s The Cutting Edge. The juxtaposition of “Things Don’t Change” being unleashed to adoring throngs at Liberty Lunch alongside footage of Croslin, vocalist/guitarist Kim Longacre, bassist Cindy Toth, and drummer Garrett Williams hanging out at a barbecue proved epochal.
Shortly after signing to Capitol, Zeitgeist was forced to change its name. The new William Faulkner-inspired moniker stuck until the band broke up in 1991. After successful 2008 reunion shows, the four Reivers started woodshedding new material with keyboardist Eric Friend as Right or Happy.
“We wanted to write new songs and limit the older stuff we were playing,” explains Croslin. “That’s why we had a different name.”
With Second Story, there’s no reason not to trade on the legacy.
“We figured it would sell better if it was the Reivers,” he chuckles.
From the wistful (and yes, slower) opening notes of “All the Drunks Say Amen,” the new LP’s lineage back to 1991’s Pop Beloved remains aesthetically true (see this week’s “Texas Platters”). The airy jangle and soaring vocals that defined the band’s earlier material now have a deeper, more reflective feel.
“The main different ingredient is that we’re older and calmer,” says Croslin. “So the music is a little more even-keeled.” – Greg Beets