Black 47

Home of the Brave

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Larry Kirwan devotes himself to a strange mixture of Irish nationalism, American civil rights advocacy, and working-class infidelity on New York's Lower East Side. He sings with equal passion about 1920s Irish patriots and lovers' triangles, and when he loses his girlfriends to better-employed sanitation workers and dentists, he buries his misery in six-packs. It's a worldview of sorts, especially because Kirwan sees it in such heroic terms, and because he adopts music that reinforces those terms: an earnest, if slightly self-mocking singer emotes over martial rhythms, traditional Celtic folk instruments, a horn section, and dabs of rock guitar. If all of this works a little less effectively than on Black 47's debut, it's in part because Kirwan's sense of humor isn't as apparent, and in part because this album really doesn't do much more than repeat the fresh approach of the first, making it begin to seem like formula.

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