This is the second album from the Irish duo now based in London, to follow 2014’s “And So It Began”, and is something of a mixed bag in terms of apparent influences and styles. Think Britpop meets Kasabian meets mainstream 60’s pop, and you’ll not miss the mark by much.
Full arrangements, including lots of brass, driving rhythm sections and relentless layered harmonies, there’s plenty here to trigger the odd bout of involuntary foot-tapping, but whether the melodies and lyrics are catchy enough to be memorable or ear-wormy will largely depend on whether you already have an inclination for this kind of full-on pop rock.
Personally, I found myself wishing for an occasional verse without harmony, all the better to enjoy the quality of the harmonies when they returned. And for something a little more roomy or spacious. I got it on track 9, “I Need You”, a lovely piano-led ballad that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the album.
There’s proper quality on display here, with strong song-writing and arranging providing a strong foundation for a collection of songs whose similarity and consistency unfortunately, for this listener at least, means that the album as a whole is less than the sum of its parts.
A slight change in the order of songs, with the two easier tracks placed among the rest, rather than right at the end, might have left an altogether more favourable impression. Perhaps my shuffle button will solve that problem on future visits. There’s enough positivity here to make me look forward to finding out.
We Rise was released via Mass Market Recordings on August 11th