I have always loved this band, since its inception. As with most Irish music groups, they can already boast of some impressive PAST members, including John Doyle, John Williams, Karan Casey, and Donal Clancy, but the current ensemble is still wonderfully talented and retains founders Seamus Egan and Winnie Horan. They have always played with a kind of gypsy flare, sort of Irish music "kicked up a notch," (as Emeril might say). The pop influence has grown even stronger with this CD, which might put off some rigid traditionalists, but I find it an irresistible confection (and I love traditional Irish music).
I loved the driving rhythms of the traditional song "Seven Curses," the wonderful song about life as a "Merry Go Round" (which could probably double as country music hit), the contemporary feel of "There is a Time," the expressive guitar and fiddle work on Sunday's Waltz/Double Oh," and the instrumental set that begins with "John Riordan's Heels." They also render a wistful, slowed down version of the classic song "Mollai na gCuach Ni Chuilleanain," which I have always heard played as an up-tempo song, but is successfully reinvented here.
Egan and Horan manage to imprint the same fiery signature that seems to transcend this band's various incarnations. Mairead Phelan from Ireland is a terrific lead singer, and the talented Mick McAuley and Eamon McElholm complete a world class quintet. If you ever liked SOLAS you will love this CD. I am tempted to say that if you love music period, you will be happy to bring home "For Love and Laughter." This one is worth five stars in my book.