Woodstar - Life Sparks
In recent weeks, Limerick has been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. It's good to see, then, that in Woodstar the city has produced something really worth celebrating. At first sight, admittedly, they don't seem to amount to much - six unassuming young men with guitars, some pleasant tunes and an audible fixation with the records of Neil Young. Give their debut album a few close listens, however, and something much more substantial is revealed. Produced by the legendary studio boffin Stephen Street, Life Sparks is a majestic collection of wistfully romantic pop that, at its best, recalls the finest moments of Mercury Rev or Flaming Lips. What really elevates it above the competition, however, is the yearning falsetto of vocalist Fin Chambers - a thing of supreme beauty that gives an extra dimension to even the less distinguished songs on offer here. Like most debuts, Life Sparks drags in places and is occasionally a little rough around the edges. That, however, only adds to the charm of what is undoubtedly a contender for Irish album of the year so far.
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