Catchy Go Go Records - 2004 - 30 minutes

Opening with 'I'm Not Square', a big, wonderful, fuzzy mess of a song, NPB's third album doesn't take long to endear itself to the listener. In fact, it is encouraging to hear rock music that is unashamedly straightforward and delivered without the safety net of an ironic, tongue-in-cheek approach.

The simplicity and success of the results reveal these songs as thinly disguised pop music, with just enough distortion to throw you off the scent and more than enough hooks to keep you listening.

Some time ago, the band's name changed from National Prayer Breakfast to the punchier NPB, and this change seems to be reflected in the music. All their musical ideas are delivered in staccato block capitals, where the drums pound, the bass chugs along, and the guitars are only strummed downwards.

The Nashville influences on this record are a welcome surprise, with NPB tipping their Stetson to the good-humoured pessimism of country music. Tracks like 'It's Not My Fault' and the closing song 'Poor Folks' leave you pleasantly baffled as to where exactly this Dublin based group got that authentic southern twang.

The lean structure of the music does not allow for indulgent guitar solos or leave space for pretension to fester and the streamlined results are just plain fun. No bad thing.

Ray Donoghue

Tracklisting: I'm Not Square - It's Not My Fault - 1962 - Different Amounts For Different Mounts - Too New For The World - Good Woman - The Pit Of Love - Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me - Let's Work It Out - Poor Folks