The Young Dubliners

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Absolutely Review

by Richie Unterberger

This bears some of the hallmarks of anthemic guitar rock, albeit from an act who hasn't quite graduated to stadium-filling grandiosity: a big ringing guitar sound, some pile-driving choruses, and a general sense of trying to make statements of considerable import. As the genre goes, however, it's more likable and upbeat than most, primarily because there's some humility and humor to the vocals and a good amount of variation to the material. Keith Roberts' songs aren't masterpieces, but they're reasonably forceful musings on romantic and moral tensions. They seem cognizant of the tough realities of the situations, yet also optimistic that something good can result if the parties involved go about matters with effort and integrity. Because of the band's Irish background (and name), some might expect this to have a folk flavor, and while it's there in the occasional fiddle and mandolin, it's just a flavor to what's in the main a straight guitar-oriented rock record. Well, at times it's more than a flavor; the instrumental "Unreel" is certainly the oddest outing on the album (and refreshingly so) and "Brown Dog" inches toward Pogues territory, both in the hard-nosed rhythms and vocals and the reel-like fiddle licks. "Get over your father/Get over your mother/Forget all the others/Get under the covers," they urge on "Come On." Well, at least they know what they want.

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