Following in the footsteps of rival boy band Take That, Boyzone reunited during the late 2000s and made plans for a comeback album that would eventually be released as Brother. However, the death of bandmember Stephen Gately in 2009 seriously put into question whether or not this comeback album would ever see the light of day. Fortunately for those Boyzone fans eager to hear how the now-grown-up Irish boy band might sound after all these years, the remaining four bandmembers followed through with their plans and finished Brother, a safe and carefully crafted album dedicated to Gately (i.e., their fallen brother) that includes his vocals on two songs ("Gave It All Away," "Stronger") and addresses him on another ("One More Song"). While Brother is far more adult-oriented than Boyzone's first three albums, Said and Done (1995), A Different Beat (1996), and Where We Belong (1998), it's not too much of a departure in any other respect, which should delight fans eager for more material. To no one's surprise, it's a ballad-heavy effort with lots of piano melodies, string arrangements, and grandiose choruses. As is customary, Ronan Keating takes many of the album's lead vocals. One difference between Brother and Boyzone albums of the past is the absence of cover material. A long list of industry professionals are credited with writing the songs, the most notable of them pop superstar Mika, who penned the album-opening lead single, "Gave It All Away." It's a good song with glimmers of greatness, in particular the first minute of the song, where Gately is hauntingly heard singing "I will learn to live before I die" over an eerie backward-tracked string arrangement. Most impressive is the second track on the album, "Love Is a Hurricane," a showcase for Keating that marks the high point of Brother. Other standout tracks include the Mikey Graham showcase "Ruby" and "Right Here Waiting," an uplifting song of hope that follows the mid-album Gately tribute "One More Song."
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier