St. Patrick's Day Edition
This time out our spotlight on international music focuses on music from Ireland, both modern and traditional.
Le Galaxie - Pleasure
The chorus of this album's title cut includes the words "don't get too much pleasure" but fans will know that this Dublin-based band is talking about going overboard with certain kinds of fun and not referring to their new set that's appropriately titled Pleasure. With singer May Kay Gegharty leading the way, Le Galaxie serve up bright and melodic electronic dance music powered by three keyboard players; combined with beats by drummer Alistair Higgins the band whisks dancers to the club floor with soaring grooves like "Pleasure," the Goldfrapp-recalling "L.I.E" and the album's first single "Day of the Child" where Gegharty and company show that Blondie are definitely an influence. Synth man Michael Pope co-fronts the band and he takes the lead vocal spot on the krautrock-ish "Can't Stop," aims for the top of the pop charts with "Guy" and smoothly blends with Gegharty's voice on "Lock That Heart Down." One of the catchiest songs vocally is "Demi Moore" where the lyrics consist solely of Pope chanting the actress's name in such a hooky fashion that dancers will probably be doing the same long after they leave the dance floor. Closing cut "The Comedown" talks about the party being over but that's okay; Pleasure lives up to its name while it lasts. Available April 6.
Celtic Thunder - Celtic Thunder X
The much beloved Celtic Thunder return with a 2-CD set of mostly all-new material to celebrate their 10th anniversary. The presentation begins with "Sons of Light" where a sweeping instrumental passage leads into the album's first taste of the seamless blending of the five men's voices before moving into the delicate "Only Time" with Michael O'Dwyer on lead vocals and followed by the modern pop sound of "Galway Girl." "Toora Loora Lay" is a fun sing-along, the traditional and lively "The Wild Rover" features fiddle playing by Niall Murphy and the guys sound good with their version of Ed Sheeran's "Castle on the Hill." The Sheeran cut is not the only cover; the set is loaded with interpretations of hit pop songs like Neil Diamond's "I'm a Believer," Garth Brooks' "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)," the Charlie Daniels fiddle romp "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and Kool & the Gang's funky "Celebration." The set closes with the only cut that Celtic Thunder has recorded before, the always popular "Ireland's Call." Get it here
John Duhan - The Irishman's Finest Collection
As this set's title indicates, this album is a compilation of favorites from Duhan's back catalog. Comprised of a generous 17-songs, the set begins with "Just another Town," a wistful number inspired by Duhan's hometown of Limerick. Emotion runs heavy too in "The Blight," the reflections of a man living during Ireland's terrible "potato famine;" "Face the Night" though, a song Duhan wrote for his young son, is filled with the joyous wonderment of a child. These are not rowdy Irish drinking songs; Duhan writes quiet, thoughtful tunes and accompanies himself on acoustic guitar, sometimes with sparse orchestration, and again draws from family experience on "Don't Give Up Till It's Over," inspired by his father. The set ends with the reverential "Resurrection" and another cut inspired by Duhan's dad, "The River Returning."