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Luan Parle’s fourth stu­dio al­bum fea­tures 10 orig­i­nal tracks, with two – ‘Run­ning In Cir­cles’ and ‘Lonely World’ – co-com­posed with ex-Dire Straits gui­tarist Hal Lin­des. It’s her first since 2010’s The

Full Cir­cle. Not that the Wick­low woman’s been slack­ing. In­deed, she has been gadding about on tour with her mu­si­cal side­kick, renowned gui­tarist Clive Barnes, with whom she co-pro­duced this LP.

And a fine piece of work it is too. Sin­gle ‘My Some­thing Beau­ti­ful’ is a crisp slice of pop-coun­try, with slick drum­ming and a vo­cal that comes with a lib­eral sprin­kling of lovelorn tears. In­deed, there’s a coun­try tinge through­out to the record, with Parle’s voice del­i­cately bal­anc­ing the grit­ti­ness of Em­my­lou Har­ris and the so­phis­ti­ca­tion of Ste­vie Nicks.

‘Change Your Mind’ takes a more stri­dent stance, while ‘Fall­ing For You’ has a lan­guid, old-fash­ioned charm that’s hard not to fall for. The sturdy ‘Co­caine Cor­ner’, mean­while, shows how Parle has the courage to tackle crit­i­cal so­cial is­sues. Else­where, New York­based vi­o­lin-player Deni Bonet adds fresh colours to both ‘Fare Thee Well’ and ‘Never Say Good­bye’.

Recorded in Kilkenny with Thomas Donoghue, Never Say Good­bye is more sharply fo­cused than any of its pre­de­ces­sors, with Barnes fully aware that less is of­ten more. The pro­duc­tion gloss never out­shines the ma­te­rial or Parle’s born-to-sing-coun­try voice, show­ing that the for­mer pre-teen prodigy has ma­tured into a first-rate artist. OUT FE­BRU­ARY 7 · JACKIE HAY­DEN

Luan Parle Never Say Good­bye SELF-RE;EASED ‘My Some­thing Beau­ti­ful’

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