Washington Post Weekend section
Friday, August 4, 2006; Page WE07
THE SAW DOCTORS "The Cure" Shamtown
CALL IT CELTIC-CRUSADER rock: It's that genre typified by the Waterboys and U2 in their '80s heydays. It's big, inspiring music that would jig if it weren't busy galloping; a genre where punk, folk and rock play at threesomes; an imagined Emerald Isle with more brogues than Thom McAn.
For the Saw Doctors, which formed in 1991, that era never ended. On "The Cure," Davy Carton still sounds like he's bellowing his vocals across a pasture, and sentimentality lurks in every plucked guitar and plinked keyboard. But, surprisingly, although the late-night rambler "Stars Over Cloughanover" feels "breezes moving through the branches beside the castle," and "Going Home" evokes Christy Moore and a cattle field, the album's main turf is New York City.
"If Only" offers Gotham nostalgia to color a memory of a would-be lover, and "Last Summer in New York" pounds its point home with somewhat cheesy opening sound effects of sirens and car horns. It's not subtle stuff, and it's best when it's either bombastic, as on "Last Summer in New York," or contemplative, as on "Funny World," where the mood is definitely not ha-ha funny.
-- Pamela Murray Winters