It's been quite a journey for The Corrs, the sibling band hailing from Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland.
The quartet’s instrumental roster boasts the tin whistle, drums, keyboards, violin, guitar (electric and acoustic), piano and bodhrán—all of which have powered their sharp-witted blend of traditional Irish and general pop/rock sonics since their acclaimed 1995 debut LP Forgiven, Not Forgotten. This mixture has made The Corrs’ canon one of the most commercially viable in the history of popular music.
But, to confine Sharon, Andrea, Caroline and Jim Corr to how many platinum records they've acquired would be a disservice to them. No, the true majesty of The Corrs is how they've (mostly) maintained uniformity, both in a live context and on record, as it relates to juggling the dual musical mediums of Irish folk and mainstream pop.
For their seventh album Jupiter Calling, The Corrs drafted T Bone Burnett to pilot the project. Like the producers that preceded him on the group’s past affairs—David Foster, Glen Ballard, Mitchell Froom, Olle Romo, John Shanks—Burnett's reputation for getting the best results from his collaborative processes precedes him. But, Burnett's task is relatively easy on Jupiter Calling, as The Corrs do the bulk of the work. Burnett simply accentuates and amplifies their songwriting and playing here, keeping it lean, but filling.
For context, it's important to note that Jupiter Calling arrives two years after The Corrs ended their decade-long silence with White Light (2015). It was a fine and fair platter, but, there was a dangerous sense of self-consciousness dogging that LP. A first for the band.
On Jupiter Calling, The Corrs play like a group in absolute command of their creative faculties. Their distinctive blend of classic Irish aesthetics and modern pop/rock touches is at its most natural and relaxed here. There are no “breaks” between the two tonalities. In fact, Jupiter Calling possesses a set of songs so fluid in their marriage of styles, it's breathtaking. Both “Son of Solomon” and “The Sun and the Moon,” which open and close the record respectively, prove this in their airy, atmospheric executions.
The album's mood is pretty and pastoral, something not foreign to The Corrs. But there's a darkness and a complexity to Jupiter Calling that is a new shore explored. Some of this can be laid at the feet of Andrea Corr, her lilting tone infusing a gorgeous, if world-weary feeling into “Road to Eden” and “SOS.” However, by each song's conclusion, an upswell of hope cuts through the rumination to uplift the listener. Entries like “No Go Baby” and “Hitting the Ground Running” are more directly autobiographical in nature and lend additional weightiness to Jupiter Calling's narrative arc.
There's a little experimentation that peers backward to efforts like In Blue (2000) and Borrowed Heaven (2004), offering polite, light pop-funk alternatives to the majority of the record's ruling class of midtempo/ballad configurations (see “Bulletproof Love,” “A Love Divine,” “Butter Flutter”). “Butter Flutter,” in particular, really surprises with its cool bite coming from its groovy, percussive bottom vibes, courtesy of Caroline's drum work. Notably missing in action is one of their patented instrumental numbers, making Jupiter Calling the first Corrs record to not include one. However, the band's chemistry is so tight throughout the set's run time, the listener will not feel shortchanged.
Jupiter Calling is a career best for The Corrs, an album that is dually refined and evolved. In an era of hollow pop spectacle, an album of such commitment and spirit demands to be celebrated.
Notable Tracks: “A Love Divine” | “Butter Flutter” | “Son of Solomon” | “The Sun and the Moon”