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coverpic flag Ireland - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 2 - 12/24/96

A House
No More Apologies
Setanta Records (SETCD28)

As the title of this their fifth album suggests, A House have succeeded somewhat in reconciling the fierce youthful ambition of their earlier masterpieces I Want Too Much and I Am The Greatest, with the recognition that despite their failure in satisfying corporate demands, they can stand proud over a decade's body of work, the consistency of which has been matched by few of their peers. Despite the constant insecurity of their record company tenure and the disappointment from the numerous false dawns - like another band greeted by similar popular indifference: The Go-Betweens - these upheavals never obscured their primary intentions. And although No More Apologies exhales some of the vehemence of old, the attitude is never swamped in any bitterness or recriminations, always tempered by the realisation that the romance invested in the ominously titled final track A Happy Ending should never be disowned.

But while A House instinctively strive for some sort of solace, they never shy away from ongoing combat with the impressive evidence mounting for counsel advocating the abandonment of hope. Not that this is all done in a tone devoid of humour, for humour abounds (the comic relief that is the keyboard interlude in Broken being one of the outstanding moments.) The best kind that find its inspiration in the tragic and surreal, while reserving contempt for the begrudgery masking as cheap sarcasm in Twist & Squeeze. The romantic types may provide a rich target for the piss-takers but as David Couse (and he should bloody know!) cautions in that customised melodic rant of his in Without Dreams: try living bereft of some daft master plan "and you might as well lie down."

With its Walt Disney like colours I Can't Change distinguishes itself as the album's flagship song, embodying the self-acceptance and peace that A House seem to have found as a band, but as always the mantra of affirmations can be applied to the listener's own particular context. Other songs are worthy of a mention: the title track, Love Is and Sister Song, but like all records of durability each fresh listen reveals another special moment previously not appreciated in full.

I hate the way this all sounds too much like a band's parting note, especially when so many, who need the empathy you get so succinctly (and sadly so rarely) in great songs like these, are still ignorant of A House's work. For those that purport to being familiar with the true individualists of pop and have somehow managed to side-step this Irish bunch, I suggest you do something about it soon before your credentials are exposed as being sorrily all too inadequate.

Copyright © 1996 Sean Phelan e-mail address

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