Dirtbird Records - 2005 - 51 minutes

Talk about irony. A band whose most well-known song was the soundtrack to a bank ad found themselves in such dire financial straits that they had to re-release their old outfit's debut album and do a reunion tour to get the money to record this one. Such were the trials and tribulations Steve and Joe Wall faced in the five years since the release of The Walls' debut 'Hi-Lo', a journey that featured a support slot to U2, money worries, soundtrack appearances on a handful of Irish films, a trip back in time to those days as The Stunning and finally this, The Walls' second album.

Super-charged with the idea of starting afresh, at its best 'New Dawn Breaking' has an urgency about it which proves infectious. Beginning with 'Open Road', a song that convinces you to treat life a blank page, the brothers and bandmates Rory Doyle and Jon O'Connell power through so many great songs on the first half of the album that every dawn yields a different favourite - whether it's the state of the nation address 'Romantic Ireland's Dead and Gone', the rocky 'Passing Through' or the sweet centrepiece 'Know Your Love'. Even 'To the Bright and Shining Sun', which you've heard to distraction on TV, sounds new.

The second half of the album is strong, but a couple of songs prevent it from being as memorable as the first. After the quality of what's gone before, recent single 'Drowning Pool' sounds a bit obvious, while the likes of 'Out of the Fog' and 'Highwire' don't grow on you in the same way. The title track, however, does close 'New Dawn Breaking' with a very bright glow - part mismatched love, part early morning honesty and all hope.

The wait was worth it.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Open Road - Passing Through - To the Bright and Shining Sun - Black and Blue - Romantic Ireland's Dead and Gone - Know Your Love - Ghosts - Out of the Fog - Drowning Pool - Highwire - Birthday Girl - New Dawn Breaking