The 4 of Us - Heaven And Earth
Long gaps between records, a refusal to tour and a general media shyness have all conspired to make The 4 Of Us one of Ireland's most underappreciated bands. As their new album confirms, however, the sensitive Northerners still have plenty of life left in them yet. Heaven And Earth is a classic slow burner of a record, a finely-wrought collection of understated love songs that make up for in subtlety what they lack in immediacy. It suffers, however, from two major flaws. First, the band clearly spent far too long in the studio, with the result that many of the songs are overadorned with unnecessary production effects. Second, for all his undoubted passion, singer Brendan Murphy still does not have a particularly distinctive voice. Those reservations aside, Heaven And Earth is a consistently engaging and impressive album, lovingly presented and brimming with creative ideas. Sometimes, it seems, it's the quiet ones who are most worth hearing.
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