Sunday 22 April 2018

The talk on corners? The Corrs are back

The Corrs have crafted an album that is a testament to the magic of collaboration and their kindred spirits

In their new album Jupiter Calling The Corrs have created 'an atmospheric and reflective masterpiece'
In their new album Jupiter Calling The Corrs have created 'an atmospheric and reflective masterpiece'
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Memories are made of this. May, 1999: sunset in Nottingham, the cold numbing the 35,000 fans who are eagerly waiting the arrival of the headliners from Ireland, the Dundalk Von Trapp family.

Like a young Marianne Faithfull skipping over Mick Jagger's back wall, Andrea Corr (equal parts the aforesaid Ms Faithfull, plus Leonard Cohen, Dorothy Parker, Stevie Nicks, Marlene Dietrich and Joni Mitchell thrown in for good measure) dashes out of the dressing room, en route to the whiffy Portaloo outside.

The elfin County Louth super-ninja waves at the fans gathered beyond the security ring as she disappears to answer the call of nature. In five minutes, The Corrs will take the stage. They are on the cover of Q magazine as the biggest and most beautiful band in the word. After about 10 minutes on stage, their gender, their good looks, goes out the window. It is all about the music. There is no artifice at all. They merely perform a series of powerful songs, a transcendent 85-minute performance.

Andrea singing out of her skin; Sharon (equal parts Hypatia of Alexandria, Mary Wollstonecraft and Patti Smith), Caroline (equal parts John Bonham, Deirdre O'Kane and Virginia Woolf), Jim (equal parts Stephen Hawking, Eric Clapton and Billy Connolly) playing out of their skins. I am standing on the side of the stage with John, the manager - at one point we both went on the stage to Irish dance. Michael Flatley I am not. From this vantage-point I could see the implacable devotion of 35,000 young kids who had spent hours alone in the dark living inside these songs. Sharon's violin serenade could be heard floating sweetly over the trees.

"How much am I getting for this show?" Andrea asks her manager after coming off stage.

"I don't know. You never asked before. Why do you want to know? It's a lot of money..."

"Good," answers his young charge. But this wasn't a moment of rock star greed. "I want to give the cheque to the Kosovo refugees."

Almost 20 years later, The Corrs are still singing and playing out of their skins, still writing and performing powerful, transcendent songs. Released almost quietly late last year, their album Jupiter Calling is probably - for me - a creative and career high for The Corrs. I have listened to it maybe 20 times since I bumped into Sharon Corr by accident before Christmas and she popped a copy in my hand.

With the demi-god T Bone Burnett behind the console and The Corrs (who are all brilliant, and I mean brilliant, musicians, playing live) the 13 songs offered here are a testament to the magic of music, to the magic of collaboration in the studio between kindred spirits between siblings on the same sonic wavelength.

"The most freeing experience we've ever had in the studio," said Caroline of working with T Bone Burnett. The nigh-on eight minute long - and Sharon Corr-written - The Sun And The Moon bears witness to that collaborative dynamism and spontaneity.

"2016 never felt so fragile/ Have you ever been in love/ We're playing in the garden of glorified/ Loving in the rubble of a landslide," Andrea sings on the beautiful Butter Flutter.

On Dear Life, the elfin County Louth super-ninja is singing of wanting to "Live like I'm losing, and holding on for dear life".

This, their seventh studio album, is full of heart and soul - especially on songs like SOS (Song Of Syria) and Hit My Ground Running). Along with all that searching after truth comes a rawness that wasn't as evident on their 1995 debut Forgiven, Not Forgotten, or on 1997's Talk on Corners which made The Corrs one of the biggest bands on the planet.

What Andrea, Sharon, Caroline and Jim have crafted here is an atmospheric and reflective masterpiece that will be a major part of their legacy one day.

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