Emer Kenny

Parting Glass

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Emer Kenny's third outing follows up well on her previous two discs, essentially managing the same mix of traditional Irish with beats and programming, along with three of her own pieces. She's an attractive enough singer in the Sinéad O'Connor mold, with a slightly wispy voice that conveys hurt and loneliness well. However, she's at her best when the arrangements are at their sparsest and most natural. She doesn't always need the buoyancy of beats underneath her; sometimes a little silence can be far more effective. You have to wonder, too, about some of the song choices here -- does the world really need another take on "Scarborough Fair" or "She Moves Through the Fair," especially when these versions are going to be measured against other, better ones and found desperately wanting? This time, too, there seems to be little invention in the beats, as if they'd just been slung together and put in there with rudimentary rebar to hold the structures together. Kenny's own "Breton Dance" makes a sprightly enough ending, but neither "Cast a Spell" nor "Rescue Me," the other efforts from own pen, carry much weight against the power of the tradition. Next time it would be interesting to hear her do a completely acoustic album and turn her back on what seems to be rapidly becoming blandness. [Parting Glass was also released featuring a bonus Junior Vasquez mix of "Cast a Spell."]

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