Review: Jack Foley
INTO Your Heart marks the first studio album from the
Hothouse Flowers in seven years but, sadly, the wait does not
appear to have been worth it.
Symptomatic of easy listening/soul at its blandest, this is the
type of album which begins brightly (in the form of first single,
Your Love Goes On), but then becomes a mundane series of
heartfelt songs, which sound far too earnest and joyfree for their
Boasting the type of collection that would easily make the playlist
of Radio 2 (for mothers only), the album is a long, drawn out
affair, which seriously begins to flag about midway through.
Tracks such as Santa Monica, which comes with descriptions
such as. 'Fiachna was riding on Santa Monica Big Blue Bus from
the beach back to central Los Angeles on a pensive, sad Summer's
day, and put pen to paper and out came this little snapshot',
aptly sum up the feel of the album.
Very serious, mostly melancholy, and insanely dull. You don't
tend to think of places such as Santa Monica as being sad, but
Liam Ó Maonlaí and co make it so.
The lyrics don't help, with lines such as 'worn out faces from
God's special places, working their lives to the bone', (during
Santa Monica), or 'Satisfaction, thinking of you, it's
my reaction, thinking of you, up on an airplane, I take to the
sky, see you later, this isn't goodbye', from the hopelessly flat
On the plus side, Ó Maonlaí's soaring vocals make
the album easy to listen to (they don't grate in any way), while
the varied use of instruments, from hammond organs, stings and
pianos, to tin whistles and flugelhorns, occasionally add an extra
But there is an air of artistic pretentiousness which also permeates,
making it all the more difficult to like.
Peace Tonight, for instance, is a distinctly average track,
which lays claim to the band's boast that 'Fiachna was sitting
in his bedroom, fighting writer's block... he shook it off and
wrote this in ten minutes... man oh man God is good... a few weeks
later Liam sang it in a voice never heard before'.
The only time the album really finds its stride is during tracks
such as the aforementioned single, Your Love Goes On, which
features the Dublin Gospel Choir to lend it a bit of soul, and
during the Van Morrison inspired Magic Bracelets.
Yet it is ironic that the best track on the album comes last
- a live version of So Do Mhamo I, during which the band
really lets go of its earnest values and has a really good old
Sadly, by this time, you will probably have abandoned it.
1. Your Love Goes On
2. The End Of The Road
4. Tell Me
5. Better Man
6. Peace Tonight
7. Santa Monica
8. Feel Like Living
9. Baby I Got You
11. Magic Bracelets
12. Out Of Nowhere
13. So Do Mhamo I