The Adventures

Trading Secrets with the Moon

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Proving that bigger sometimes really is better, Ireland's Adventures unwisely abandoned the grandiose, anthemic arena rock of their second album, The Sea of Love, for this more introspective collection. Polished producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (who worked on most of the album) turn the volume down, offering folky adult pop completely at odds with the band's strengths. Of course, some of the material didn't deserve much better, with guitarist Pat Gribben's brainless anti-American (is there any other kind of political song in pop music?) screed "Washington Deceased" the worst offender. However, Terry Sharpe's boyish vocals remain appealing, and the melodies are sometimes reminiscent of the previous album. What's missing are the ambitious widescreen arrangements of The Sea of Love, which pumped such energy into the simple tunes. You can hear what might have been when the harmonies kick in on songs like "Don't Blame It on the Moon" and "Hey Magdalene," or when "Sweet Burning Love" breaks into a majestic bridge, making the overall results even more disappointing. Only on the rousing "Never Gonna Change" and "Pull Me Together Again" do Sharpe and the band really get a chance to cut loose, and as those are the last two tracks. By then it's much too little, too late.

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