How one feels about Hothouse Flowers depends very much on one’s attitude towards (and tolerance for) bombast. The five members of this Dublin group are all talented musicians; vocalist/keyboardist Liam O’Maonlai has a fine voice and sings from the heart. But there’s a tendency to bludgeon virtually every song to death, slowly building each up to a gut-wrenching climax, with O’Maonlai singing for his life as the piano pounds and the backing voices wail. To some listeners this may spell S-O-U-L, but others will beg for R-E-L-I-E-F. That said, many Bruce Springsteen and Joe Cocker fans (to name just two popular bombast-kings) will probably find this just what the doctor ordered.
People is the shorter of the two albums, and earns some additional points for the songs “I’m Sorry,” (which contains a rare bit of humor) and “Don’t Go.” Home features guest appearances by Steve Nieve and Daniel Lanois, and contains a version of Johnny Nash’s pop-reggae classic “I Can See Clearly Now” that’ll blow your socks off.