Music: Couse * * *
Alonewalk (1969 Records)
For a couple of years either side of 1990, Dublin's A House were unquestionably Ireland's finest band. Frontman Dave Couse went alone after the band's 1997 split, and this is his third solo album in 13 years.
While his previous solo offerings -- the emotive and biographical Genes and the power-pop heavy The World Should Know -- boasted traces of his old band, this album sounds completely different. Strings, courtesy of Rike Söller's cello, are to the fore, giving the songs a more classical feel, but even more striking is Couse's vocal, with a perfectly pitched falsetto replacing his trademark nasal sneer.
A pair of songs, Black and White and Don't Say a Word, are as good as anything he's written, but the standout song is Good Friday -- which sees him duet with former Microdisney and Fatima Mansions frontman Cathal Coughlan. Remarkably, the pair have never met -- Coughlan simply emailed his vocals to Couse and he and co-producer Phil Hayes seamlessly added it to the original track. It sounds immense.
With just eight tracks, Alonewalk doesn't outlast its welcome and it's a collection to reward the patient listener.
Yet, those hoping for the sort of effervescent pop songs that made his name in the first place will be sorely disappointed.
Burn it: Good Friday; Black and White