Following the release of acclaimed album number three, Season of the Hurricane, for which she won the Best Female gong at the Meteor Irish Music Awards, singer/songwriter Juliet Turner took an extended break to study speech therapy in her adopted home of Dublin. Now successfully graduated, the experience of working with disabilities seems to have affected the Northern Irish chanteuse's outlook. Her fourth album, revealingly titled People Have Names, is a deeply compassionate affair -- noticeably less fiery than her previous work, but no less engaging as a result. The lush, jazzy highlight "High Hopes" deals frankly with a relationship that's become sour but that neither party wants to leave: "Strange how we find each other so disappointing/Strange how we find each other so hard to please/...our hopes remain high." Opener "Invisible to the Eye" recalls the more subdued side of Nashville, marrying lazy jazz beats with droning accordion and wandering guitar melodies. "Trickster" compares favorably with Martha Wainwright's occasional forays into lighthearted power pop, its brassy hook harking back to Cat Stevens' "Matthew and Son." And while there is the occasional lyrical misstep -- her anger gets the better of her in "Luisa," a crude caricature of an unwitting victim of the U.S. "War on Drugs" and its "pale-skinned, blue-eyed boy" -- People Have Names is more accomplished lyrically and musically than any of Turner's previous projects. Whether she chooses to pursue music or academia in the future, she can at least be assured of that.
AllMusic Review by Dave Donnelly