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No More Apologies

A House

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Album Review

The fifth album from Ireland's A House is the sound of a band coming to grips with its place in the universe; the hard reality of that situation, as expressed here, would make it easy for even a casual listener to guess that this turned out to be the group's final recording. Yet if A House's unfailingly catchy and ruthlessly witty guitar pop never quite clicked on a massive scale — some blamed singer Dave Couse, whose deep, sometimes artless vocals gave the band a recognizable sound, while others pointed to the usual marketing mishaps — No More Apologies provides a gentle reminder of what made it special. The rock power of headier times has dissipated, with keyboards and Susan Kavanagh's backing vocals more prominent than ever, and the spare settings put the focus on Couse even more than usual. As always, he's up for the challenge, trading laughs for insight on the personal: "Twist and Squeeze," a tale of backstabbing back home, reads like a response to those critics who'd written the group off by this point, while "Cry Easily," like most of these songs, has lyrics as simple and naked as the music. Yet the palpable sense of resignation isn't despair; those searching for the irony in "A Happy Ending" are probably still doing so. The sense of acceptance implied by the title track — "No more 'I used-to-bes'/No more apologies" — sounds as liberating as it does defeating. In a better world, Couse and company would have become the stars they deserved. In the real world, listeners were still lucky to have them.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

The Irish guitar pop ironists A House formed in Dublin in 1985 from the remnants of the group Last Chance. Comprised of the core trio of vocalist Dave Couse, guitarist Fergal Bunbury and bassist Martin Healy and regularly aided by satellite members Dave Dawson (drums), David Morrissey (keyboards) and Susan Kavanagh (backing vocals), the group debuted in 1987 with the single "Kick Me Again, Jesus," issued on their own Hip label. The record won...
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No More Apologies, A House
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