The Relatives

The Electric Word (Yep Roc)

SXSW 2013 Records

The Relatives

The Electric Word (Yep Roc)

The saga of the Relatives offers a testament to the perseverance of spirit. Almost lost to history, the band's entire recorded output was reissued for 2009 anthology Don't Let Me Fall, an absolute masterpiece of Texas gospel soul that inspired an ongoing reunion. After more than three decades, the Relatives could've taken the easy path, cutting a standard comeback album of covers and traditionals, but the Rev. Gean West – still practicing at God's Anointed Community Church of God in Christ in Dallas – shoulders far too much pride for that. He howls with a James Brown mean streak and the scarred redemption of Bobby Womack, a pairing most prominent in the big payback of "Say It Loud (It's Coming Up Again)" and holy roller "Let Your Light Shine." Boasting Spoon's Jim Eno as producer and former Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears' bandleader Zach Ernst at the helm, The Electric Word captures the full glory of the Relatives' second coming, though ringer Tyron Edwards nearly steals the show with his mountain-high falsetto ("Things Are Changing"), the gravy to Western grit. With brother the Rev. Tommie West, Tony Corbitt, and Head Deacon Earnest Tarkington, the quintet nails a cappella hymn "Trouble in My Way" and the tender soul of "Your Love Is Real." There's fire and brimstone here, too. "Bad Trip" could best be described as Pentecostal psychedelia, while "Revelations" offers not a sermon on the mound, but a warning at the rubble of a Sly Stone riot. Perhaps most telling, "What's Wrong With America?" updates "Speak to Me," the war-torn plea from Don't Let Me Fall, for a new generation. It's a fitting reminder that the Relatives' good work ain't done yet. (11pm, Continental Club)

***.5

The 2021-2022 Austin Music Awards Music Poll is underway. Vote now for your favorite bands, venues, and music until January 31.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More the Relatives
Texas Platters
The Relatives
Goodbye World (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, May 13, 2016

ACL Live Shot: The Relatives
The Relatives
Zilker Park, Oct. 12

Jim Caligiuri, Oct. 19, 2012

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Guy Forsyth & Jeska Bailey
Conspirators (Record Review)

Reid Jowers, Sept. 27, 2019

Texas Platters
The Texas Horns
Get Here Quick (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Austin Powell
Space and Distance: A Joint Interview With Balmorhea and Explosions in the Sky
Space and Distance: A Joint Interview With Balmorhea and Explosions in the Sky
How Austin’s landmark instrumental outfits soundtrack the state of Texas

Dec. 10, 2021

Aaron Frazer’s MCU of Soul
Aaron Frazer’s MCU of Soul
The Indications’ drummer and soul crooner introduces himself at ACL

Oct. 7, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

the Relatives

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle