(As published in Brian Q. Newcomb's Syndicate ... )
Songs from the Rain (London)
One would presume too much in interpreting the Celtic mysticism of the Hothouse Flowers as Christian per se, but one would likewise presume too little in passing t all off as just so much psychobabble from the land of leprechauns. The lyrics on this, their third album, read like broadly ecumenical homiles, extolling the raw spiritual force of everything from God and "Amazing race" to "The Spirit of the Land" and the freedom of gypsies. It's an over-romanticized and slightly blurry view of things, but two elements keep it more or less in line: the rigorously elegant simplicity of the lyrics and the joyously soulful folk-rocking melodies and singing. It's a sound, as many have noted, that comes from somewhere between Van Morrison and U2 and one whose gracefulness and power lend credence to the suspicion that these guys are on to something.