Reekus - 2004 - 70 minutes

Blake's last album, the gorgeous 'California', closed with the superb 'Venus of the Canyon' and its aching chorus "I had it all; I gave it up". And that feeling of loss continues the whole way through 'Songs for Someone', a record where every instrument sounds as in need of company as the next.

With the arrangements even lusher than before (if you've heard 'California', you'll know that's saying something), Blake's lyrics dig deeper and make you think that this is a man who has worn out more than a few copies of Sinatra's 'Sings for Only the Lonely'.

It's pointless to talk of highlights because all the torch songs here burn as brightly as each other, with mysteries you'll want to try and unravel again and again. The biggest one of all, however, still remains how an Irishman, who is thought so much of across Europe, can still be such a secret in his own country.

Perhaps, not too long after this.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: We are Not Stars - When I'm Over You - Lies Lies Lies - The Fox in Winter - Ava - Song for Someone - You're Not Alone - Native New Yorker - Tropic of Cancer - Travelling - We Couldn't Decide - The End of the Affair - Coming Home