- 28 Feb 18
A stunning affair - in all senses.
Most songs improve with regular performances, and so it’s a common frustration with many bands that they only realise exactly how their album should have sounded once they’ve finished touring it. Veteran Irish rockers The Stunning – always an excellent live proposition – released their hit sophomore album, Once Around The World, way back in 1992 (the follow-up to their 1990 classic Paradise In The Picturehouse). Although it topped the charts here, the band themselves were never fully happy with the recording.
Just over a quarter century later, having played the songs countless times since, they’ve totally re-recorded and refreshed the originals. Recorded live over two sessions in Grouse Lodge Studios with co-producer Kieran Lynch (U2, Clannad) at the helm, this tardy take-two was mixed by Chris O’Brien, who co-produced their debut, and Ger McDonnell (The Cure, Manic Street Preachers, U2, Kasabian).
This reviewer’s original copy of Once is long lost, so an in-depth comparison with Twice is difficult. However, the four hit singles it spawned remain radio staples and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with these re-polished versions of ‘Heads Are Gonna Roll’, ‘Everything That Rises’, ‘She’s On My Mind’ and ‘Mr. Ginger’. They sound even tighter played live and, like a fine wine, Steve Wall’s vocals appear to have improved with age.
The album also features two new songs – ‘Brighten Up My Life’ and recent single ‘Always You’. The latter track, in particular, is an absolute gem that benefits hugely from the superb female backing vocals on its infectiously catchy chorus: “For you, yes it’s you, always you/If you fall I’ll be the one you’ll fall into.”
This is an absolute no-brainer for Stunning fans. If you loved the first one, then you’ll certainly appreciate this second spin. Twice could also earn the band many new admirers.
OUT 16th MARCH
Record label: Dirtbird Records
Listen to: 'Always You'