Twenty years ago Steve and Joe Wall were stars in waiting. The Stunning reigned as new music heroes as Ireland’s love affair with raggle-taggle waned and FM radio fell for their chiming west coast pop. Reformed as The Walls in ‘98, the brothers’ talent for writing guitar tunes as fresh as sea spray has not deserted them but this third album is shot through with more mature reflections on childhood, the collapse of the Celtic Tiger, and wistful personal memories of teen romance. Bird in a Cage relates the autobiographical tale of two young lads uprooted from Dublin and moved to the country and Carrying The Fire takes its title from the refrain in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and proceeds to condense modern Irish history into a three-and-a-half minute pop song. Doodlesque is a reverie of hazy syncopation, twangy guitars, and cool brass, Dead Flowers brings whizz bang electronics and a cracking guitar solo to the cut price (dinner) party, but closing track May The Road Rise is an atmospheric tearjerker sang by Joe about putting away childish things but hanging on to your dreams. It’s all solid stuff but why didn’t they invite their mate President Michael D Higgins into the studio to lay down some of his poetic wisdom? That would really have stopped the lights.

Alan Corr