The Corrs

Borrowed Heaven

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Their detractors still whine about how the Corrs used to be so Celtic (they were somewhat, but not to the degree the bellyaching infers) and now they're so light in the substance department (so was ABBA; so what?). They'll hate this one because Borrowed Heaven is light as a feather, but what harmonies, what presentation. While it's lighter in singles than their better albums, Borrowed Heaven benefits plenty from the bright, slightly electronica, and crystal-clear production courtesy of Olle Romo. While former producers -- bombastateers Robert John "Mutt" Lange and Glen Ballard -- brought the band big productions with big possibilities, Romo offers a more intimate Corrs, better for sitting in your room than spinning in the sunlight. With no hip-hop or punk angst on Borrowed Heaven, the band is out of touch with 2004 radio, so creating a fan's album ends up both a smart and comfortable move. Minus the bubbly good and pretty vacant kickoff single, "Summer Sunshine," plus a couple mundane fluff fillers, Borrowed Heaven is the most personal Corrs album since their debut, and you can't help but feel that it's due to Romo's light touch. He's out of the picture when need be, but always there with an interesting studio trick when the album starts spinning its wheels. The best example is the exchange between his synth fills and the band's boisterous reel on "Angel," but you can also choose the way he makes the band actually sound funky on "Humdrum" or the way he tones down the Bono and Gavin Friday-penned "Time Enough for Tears" to a believable and touching level. Andrea Corr's performance here is serene and more sincere than the one she did for the In America soundtrack, and it anchors the album. Ladysmith Black Mambazo guest on the title track, a dreamy, Peter Gabriel-styled number with another great performance from Andrea. Lyrically, the more intimate Corrs are fine and forgettable most of the time, but occasionally clich├ęs are delivered in such an earnest manner they're hard to ignore (the death-of-a-loved-one song "Goodbye" opens with the good old "I never thought you would leave"). Borrowed Heaven's lyric sheet is filled with high-school diary hackneyed favorites, but if you like your pop -- unadulterated pop -- presented and played extremely well, you're cheating yourself if you don't check it out.

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