This album displays all of the faults of post-modernism in recorded music (save those of the totally un-musical, repetitive noise genre). If somebody gives it to you, pass it on to your gran. There’s a track called Baby I Got You which quotes from nearly all easy listening rock and soul albums for the past 30 years.
On the plus side, this is seriously easy listening (Radio Two take note). But, sadly, there is nothing new here; there is no invention; there is no intention. It is all recycled, all predictable: Liam � Maonla�’s soaring – not unpleasant – voice over a keyboard or percussion burden; the faux gospel choir backing (if that’s really the Dublin Gospel Choir they need to try harder); the Dylan-reference harmonica; the gargling noise intended to convey precisely what this group lacks – real engagement; the fade at the end of most tracks.
There’s a track called Santa Monica. I used to live in Santa Monica – no bells ringing for me. The words don’t make a lot of sense even when they make sense: “I carry a bag full of music and words / And I’m making my way through the streets…” Yeah? “The sun has gone down…” Oh, give me a break!
I was quite taken by Gerry Rafferty when his first album came out in the ’70s. Hothouse Flowers is an Irish group that, more than 50% of the time, tries to sound like Gerry Rafferty. It’s nice – but it’s a bit historical. It’s not as good as Gerry Rafferty. At times it descends to… The Carpenters. I’ve heard A Better Man done better somewhere else.
The track Alright offends me. English is not only the language of the whole world, but it is also the language that allows you to be more precise (and therefore communicative) than any other in the world. If you misuse it, you are not only confusing others but you are damaging the greatest heritage that human souls share – language. “All” and “right” are two words, not one – even in Ireland.