Forgiven, Not Forgotten (Lava)
The Corrs

By Paul Moffett

Had I written a review of this album under a deadline, say, or, simply, after the first couple of listens, I would likely have given it short shrift. An Irish family band (three sisters and a brother) doing contemporary synthesized pop against a Celtic backdrop? Pu-u-uleeze.

Well, prejudices are ripe to be blasted and mine are no exception. This album kept sliding onto the player, in part because I have a strong liking for women's voices, and the singing simply would not "Leave Me Alone." Count one prejudice discarded.

Family bands have a long tradition and, in America, are frequently the butt of hipper-than-thou jokes, e.g., The Partridge Family, or the Cowsills. But when the family members are all strong performers and singers, hoo, boy, there's serious music happening. The Corrs advance that theory considerably, with harmonies so tight you couldn't slide an extra-thin plectrum between them.

Stack all those gorgeous harmonies onto some pretty good pop tunes, get Atlantic veep David Foster to produce them all right up to moment and you have an album that will send some Celtic players scrambling for their Strats and some far-seeing rockers shopping for a bodhran and tin whistle.

"Runaway," a straightforward love song, and the title track are the radio-ready songs, although "Closer" runs a solid, close third. "Love to Love You" is a little too upbeat for the turn-down that it is, although it's easy to imagine some love-besotted young man having a copy handed to him as a kind of "Dear John" letter.

Just to demonstrate that this band is not only a family of wonderful singers, the Corrs put five instrumentals on the CD, including "Erin Shore," (twice) "The Minstrel Boy," "Along with the Girls," and "Carraroe Jig," all of them arranged in traditional Celtic style, never mind the synthesized strings and such. (The reprise of "Erin Shore" at the end has a few interesting percussive moments in it.)

The Corrs are Andrea, Caroline, Sharon and Jim. Make a note and buy the record.