There’s a certain purity to Texas is the Reason that isn’t afforded to other ’90s emo bands. Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, the Promise Ring, etc., all have a jumping off point, a Rising Tide or Dear You to split the fan base. Not so with Texas, who rejected a major label deal by breaking up after a single album. With a discography so brief it fits on one disc, they’ve never had embarrassments or breaks with their audience. Even when the members went on to other acts like Jets to Brazil and New End Original, their output stayed strong.
So while it’s easy to get cynical about punk rock reunions right now, it’s just as easy to get stoked on Do You Know Who You Are? - The Complete Collection. There are no flaws. No embarrassments. No artistic differences. Doubling as a remaster of the group’s lone full-length and a complete discography, the set makes for one-stop essential shopping.
Do You Know Who You Are? remains one of the better indie rock records of the ’90s, perhaps aided by the way it skirts through genres so easily that I can call it indie rock, emo and punk throughout this review without being wrong. This remix definitely boosts the levels—the individual instruments stand out a little more despite also shooting for loudness—taking the pent up angst of lines like “I’ll be inside way too much again” to a higher plane. Do You Know is only nine songs long, but like the band’s output overall, it’s filler free. Yeah, the vocals can get a little nasal in spots, but this is still a phenomenal record, and it’s not even the best thing Texas wrote.
That distinction goes to their self-titled EP. “If It’s Here When We Get Back It’s Ours,” “Dressing Cold” and “Antique” are the three best Texas is the Reason songs. The reissue (perhaps wisely) keeps the production on the gritty side, letting all the poppy energy go about without turning saccharine. Also a wise move: Closing out this collection with the EP. These songs are the best reason to keep the set on repeat.
In between the LP and the EP are the true rarities that established fans will want. “Every Little Girl’s Dream” and “When Rock ‘N Roll Was Just a Baby” date back to the band’s heyday, but they weren’t properly recorded until last year. They’re actually a little jarring at first, as vocalist Garrett Klahn voice sounds older, more weathered. The playing style is also a little more laidback. Granted, “Every Little Girl’s Dream” is a slinking, nearly psychedelic number, but that groove is at odds with the older material. “Rock ‘N Roll” fits in better, and J. Robbins lets each player get his due, whether it’s the guitarists shimmering parts or Chris Daly getting to drop in a drum break.
The other rarities are a mixed bag. “Blue Boy,” originally from a split with the Promise Ring, is one of the band’s best songs, so it’s cool having it here, but the alternate version of “Something to Forget” seems superfluous. It’s always been a good song, but comparing edits is for audio nerds. All the same, Complete Collection lives up to its name, reasserting Texas is the Reason’s legacy as they embark on a reunion tour. While diehards might not need to rush out, interested new fans are in for a treat.