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RONAN KEATING - BRING YOU HOME - UNIVERSAL
Record Rating: *****

Ronan Keating - Bring You Home - Universal Backed with an arsenal of hits courtesy of his years in the boy band Boyzone and a number one single of his own merit (When You Say Nothing At All from the Notting Hill Soundtrack), Ronan Keating had plenty of name recognition and credibility to fall back on when he launched his solo career.

With 2000ís Ronan, he proved that these hits were simply just not a fluke, but that his was truly a voice to be reckoned with in the world of pop. If fourth effort Bring You Home says anything about him, it's that he's old way beyond his 29 years. His voice has changed; it's deeper, more rugged and brings out the best of what Keating has to offer.

Settling comfortably into his favoured role of balladeer, the first single is a soothing rendition of the Goo Goo Dolls' Iris and gets the ball rolling for what lies ahead. For the most part, the albumís twelve tracks tread familiar territory ~ sensitive ballads and brooding mid-tempo pop ruminations, and he favours a more sleek, subdued sound that finds him daubing the yearning To Be Loved and the equally lovelorn This I Promise You with ethereal keyboards and stately, occasionally splashy rhythms.

Other highlights that are an obvious nod to maturity are Bring You Home ~ a touching pledge of protection from father to child set atop soothing synths and rendered by Keating in an emotive, reassuring tone ~ and the aching Itís So Easy Loviní You, an expression of unfettered devotion to his wife. The key tracks however, are Just When I'd Given Up Dreaming and new single All Over Again, with their crisp harmonies and arrangements, reminiscent of Peter Ceteraís early work. Thereís not really a bad song in the bunch, resulting in the most satisfying record heís delivered in awhile. Two thumbs up.

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