Konstantin Records - 2003 - 76 minutes

Surprising and delighting many upon its release last year, The Tycho Brahe's debut album 'This Is' found few detractors. At a push, the most frustrating aspect of the album was its relatively short running time, a criticism that cannot be levelled at 'Love Life'.

Apparently the first ever studio recorded double album by an Irish band, 'Love Life' certainly does not aim low. The Tycho Brahe seem to relish the opportunity to tear into as many styles and weird noises as they can. There are a few slip-ups along the way mind you, but overall they come away with an aggregate victory over the two legs of the album.

The music laid down by Diarmuid MacDiarmada and Donal O'Mahony is endlessly inventive, and provides a suitably complex backing to one of the most listenable voices in music. Carol Keogh's voice runs through the fabric of this record, displaying the same pop sensibilities from her days with the Plague Monkeys, but here interwoven with an ever-growing array of instruments and sounds that sets this band apart from their Irish contemporaries.

It's possible to sing along to tracks such as 'Steel Wheels' or 'Golden Wedding', yet these sit side by side with long instrumentals or strange interludes like 'The Sun King'. The net is cast so wide that something here must catch your attention.

On occasion, particularly on the second disc, there are tracks that are way off where the mark should be, but with a sound this recklessly experimental it's hard to say which avenues shouldn't be explored. Above all else, the Tycho Brahe's music has the element of surprise, and it is hard to place a value on that.

Ray Donoghue

Tracklisting CD 1: Steel wheels - Defiance - Quake into the Stereo - Mountain - Imprint - Bird Alone - My father the Jeweller - Out of the Blue - It's not that Unusual - Solitary Refinement - Bit by Bit - At the Pipes

Tracklisting CD 2: Made in the Fire - Spike and the Wheel - The Sun King - Golden Wedding - Good Grief - Baal (Creep and I) - The Missing - Own Universe - Lucky the Bee - Lost in Europe - Courtesy for Boys and Girls