The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, May 13, 2016, Music

Backstory to the Relatives' Goodbye World echoes the compelling music they've created. Dallas' gospel funkateers were recording a follow-up to 2013's aptly titled The Electric Word when Gean West, the band's founder and lead vocalist since 1970, fell into a coma. Twelve days later he awoke, saying the Lord had commanded him to "get back to work." After two near-miraculous recording sessions at the beginning of 2015, West ended up back in the hospital where he died a week later. Goodbye World's lead track "Rational Culture/Testimony" features West at his most powerful, recalling his meeting with God and the orders he received over a muscular backbeat. Beginning on such a startling high could've easily undermined the effort, but the remaining seven cuts possess an aura that's persuasive, showing what the Relatives are capable of: psychedelic funk ("No Man Is an Island"), deep, shimmering soul ("This World Is Moving Too Fast"), and spiritual undertones as infectious and captivating as "Forgive Me Now (Songbird Goes Home)," a closing eulogy for West. (The Relatives back Mike Flanigin at Antone's on Fri., May 13.)


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