The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

SHE’S made some of the most emo­tion­ally pow­er­ful mu­sic of the past 20 years, yet Sinead O’Con­nor’s new re­lease The­ol­ogy — on a sub­ject one would prob­a­bly avoid bring­ing up at a din­ner party with the singer, given her pope- bash­ing past — is oddly lack­ing in pas­sion. The mu­sic is pre­sented in two ver­sions on two discs; the Dublin Ses­sions give the songs a del­i­cate, bare­bones acous­tic treat­ment while the Lon­don Ses­sions are full band. The­ol­ogy is O’Con­nor’s ‘‘ place of peace in a time of strife and con­flict’’. Over­whelm­ingly soft and pret­tily pre­sented, the Dublin Ses­sions is the bet­ter disc of the two, with O’Con­nor’s songs out­shin­ing the un­com­fort­able Rivers of Baby­lon cover. The Lon­don Ses­sions of­fer a mixed bag: the stir­ring Some­thing Beau­ti­ful ben­e­fits from some mus­cle, but the odd and in­tense Watcher of Men and The Vine­yard ( a stand­out of the Dublin Ses­sions) suf­fer a dull­ness of charm. Whom­so­ever Dwells strad­dles both discs the best: airy and folksy on Dublin; con­fi­dent, or­ches­trated and fist­pump­ing on Lon­don. The­ol­ogy Sinead O’Con­nor Shock

San­dra Bridekirk

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