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Real World

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Album Review

The Young Dubliners may no longer be the sprightly lads who met in a Los Angeles pub in the early '90s, but the Irish-American quintet's highly accessible blend of Celtic and roots rock has lost none of its fiery spirit. While parenthood and other forbidden rock & roll notions may have crept into the fold, chief songwriter Keith Roberts handles these new responsibilities with care, capably juggling the wonders of family life ("Evermore"), post-9/11 paranoia ("Say It's So"), and good old-fashioned Blarney-revelry ("Waxies Dargle") with equal parts mischief and heartfelt candor on the group's fifth record, Real World. His Bono-esque croon serves the songs well, especially the energetic opener that doubles as the album's namesake — like "Touch the Sky," with its anthemic chorus and Uilleann pipe lead, it blends the two genres so effectively that it never sounds like a gimmick. These are reliable songs from a reliable band, and while skeptics may decry their U2-meets- the Hooters brand of adult alternative rock as contrived, there's no grandstanding here, just a group of guys who love to play together and do it extremely well.

Biography

Formed: 1990

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Dublin natives Keith Roberts (vocals, guitar) and Paul O'Toole (vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica) formed the Young Dubliners in the early 1990s after meeting one another in a Los Angeles pub. Roberts had been tweaking some Irish ballads of his own and opted that a band would be in order. O'Toole obliged, as well as Brendan Holmes (bass). They introduced their hearty rock sound on the Rocky Road EP in 1994; their first studio album Breathe appeared a year later, as well as new member Charles Waltz...
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Real World, The Young Dubliners
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