Minesweep­ing is Lar­ry Love’s new album, co-writ­ten with Bren­dan O’Con­nell. How unusu­al of Love to ded­i­cate an album to the prac­tice of mine removal, I thought (and the album does con­tain many sea­far­ing ref­er­ences). Inevitably Google led me to the more com­mon­place use of the word (not sure how I got to my age with­out know­ing this). Ah, now we’re on more famil­iar Lar­ry Love territory.

This album by O’Con­nell and Love is a sec­ond-time round depar­ture for Lar­ry, who is more famil­iar with his down-and-dirty acid house coun­try folk Alaba­ma 3 per­sona. His first solo album was Ghost Flight in 2006. Minesweep­ing is a col­lec­tion of gen­tle-sound­ing coun­try /Americana num­bers, com­pris­ing some lush bal­lads to sing along to, but lyri­cal­ly, there’s a sting in their tail.

Love, O’Con­nell and band held their launch par­ty at the 100 Club last week, after the album’s release 0n 6th July 2015, and true to Alaba­ma 3 form, it had the feel of a big cel­e­bra­to­ry party.

Larry Love 2

The album’s first track is the open­er, the lament Like a Wave Breaks on a Rock which gives a flavour of what we’re going to expect tonight. It’s a per­fect open­er, a por­ten­tous tale which allows Lar­ry’s unmis­take­able whisky-soaked bari­tone to be appre­ci­at­ed at its world-weary, raspy best.

Next is Call a Cab, Cin­derel­la fol­lowed by It was the Sweet­est Thing, one song which lacks the pow­er and grit of the oth­er num­bers. For the next num­ber, A3 mem­ber Auro­ra Dawn joins the band on stage to har­monise on Good­bye, Blue Sky. There’s no get­ting away from Auro­ra’s pow­er­ful stage pres­ence, but tonight she takes a low-key approach, let­ting O’Con­nell & Love take their places as the stars of the evening.

This album may have tak­en a report­ed sev­en years to write, but it’s a cohe­sive body of work: songs which wrap you in a cosy coun­try blan­ket to sway along to, lyrics learnt on first hear­ing, cho­rus­es to sing as the evening descends into – well – minesweep­ing time.

Love is Like a Rolling Stone is one of the most catchy num­bers on the album, and its fol­lowed by Where Silence Meets the Sea. Auro­ra is called back onto the stage for the show’s clos­ing num­ber, Hang­over Me. The record­ed ver­sion fea­tures Pete Docher­ty, who isn’t present tonight, but the song cer­tain­ly isn’t lack­ing with­out him.

This is a sol­id album, made more inter­est­ing by its range of guest vocal­ists. Hang­over Me fea­tures vocal spar­ring with Rumer, which recalls shades of Kirsty Mac­Coll and Shane McGowan’s Fairy­tale of New YorkCome on Boy bears the hall­marks of a lat­ter Leonard Cohen track – the vocals crooned over piano and the female cho­rus with a gospel feel. Now that I’m famil­iar with Minesweep­ing, its the track Uncer­tain Har­bour which has become the most intriguing.


WHO: O’Con­nell & Love
WHEN: July 29, 2015
WHERE: The 100 Club, London
TICKETS: £10; £18 with CD

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