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The Corrs used to be an Irish band. I know this as when I first heard them live on a late night show I thought to myself “They are pretty good, and are actually producing music with the emphasis on the Irish with a little tiny bit of pop thrown in”. Now they write pop songs, which then seemingly get processed through a machine which makes them sound Irish. Probably by adding a tin whistle and one of those Irish drums in the background. Is this a bad thing? I’d imagine their bank managers don’t think so as their singles and albums climb the popular music charts. They may have strayed from their roots and are now a fully fledged pop band, but I always had a soft spot for throwaway pop music so lets see how their first DVD-Audio stacks up.

In Blue, not pink

Album
The album kicks off with Breathless. When I say it kicks off, it really does as the opening bars explode out of my speakers and fill my lounge nicely. It settles down as the vocals start and the rear music levels drop. They are used constantly throughout the song but during the verses the levels are a little low, being overpowered by the front and centre speakers. If they were turned off it would easily be noticeable, it is just that the punchy vibrant sound from the front three tend to obscure the rears. The lead vocals are sourced from the right and left speakers while the centre is used almost as a surround speaker but with more bass and a louder drum track.  It’s a great way to open the album and fans of the band will be very happy with this mix.

One thing I noticed with this album is that the engineers were not afraid to mix it differently throughout. Several songs such as Breathless and Radio amongst others have the main vocal track on both the left and right front speakers however other tracks such as Give Me A Reason and One Night have Andrea on the centre speaker with the backing vocals on the other speakers. While interesting, it produces an odd sensation when listening as it feels a lot more unexpected.

corrr....look at that Corr

Irresistible is another high pitched pop track with a startling opening as the guitar swirls around the room before dropping to the more standard stereo vocals with the rears for the backing tracks. An obvious candidate for a single as with the rest of the album, it is often quite easy to spot the singles from what you might call “the fillers”. That’s not to say the album is bad, but the singles really do stand out. All except for the slowly meandering One Night which sees Andrea on the centre speaker with the rest of the music and backing vocals on the front and rear surround speakers. It almost sounds like it was written by The Carpenters and is a well lyricised and performed by the Corr quartet. Rebel Heart is a non-lyrical track which is actually quite recognisable and it turns out it was used by the BBC. It could have been used in a film and might have been awarded acclaim even, as it is clean violin and lullaby like tin whistle end the album serenely and calmly.

Extras
This is the first non-standard Warner Vision DVD-Audio disc I have received. By that I mean it does not have the standard Warner table on the back which clearly explains what the extra features are, and what parts will play on a normal or DVD-Audio specific player. I have always found this informative and useful, so I hope they reconsider this for future releases. Most of the tracks are accompanied by the lyrics (if applicable), 2-4 photos and intriguingly, a commentary option. Lets start with the lyrics. The default page for each track displays the track title, some track information and the first half of the lyrics. I was hoping that when the song reached the end of the displayed lyrics it would have scrolled to the next page automatically however this was not the case. Perhaps what I envision is not possible, or perhaps it was not implemented so it is possible to read the lyrics for the first half of the song while listening to the second half. The photo section contains a couple of photos per track. These range from very high quality staged studio shots to shots taken while the band are performing or at least rehearsing. The last “per track” extra feature is labelled as “Commentary”. This is quite exciting as I thought it would be the band talking about the creation of each song, as on the Fleetwood Mac disc, however I was mistaken. It is just a bit of text (sometimes no more than 3 lines) of a comment or two one member of the band made when the song was conceived or how it ended up on this particular album. A few short anecdotes are slightly interesting but not at all what I was expecting. Possibly a wasted opportunity that the true fans of the band would have been genuinely interested in.

Sultry and seductive (except that bloke on the end)

Also included is the video for Breathless presented in 2.35:1. The transfer is very clean with little to no artefacts present which was good, however it is very dark. Not having seen the TV airing of this I cannot compare it, but either the director wanted a very dark video shot in the sunny desert, or the contrast has a few problems as black areas tend to merge together making people’s clothes indistinguishable from their surroundings. The video has an odd concept which involves the band landing in the middle of NoWhere, Arizona and then playing a gig to no-one. Suddenly a legion of heavy metal bikers appears and they all get down with the funky music. Only Dolby Stereo 2.0 is provided for this which again, is a shame.

There is a “complete” discography which overstates its contents. It includes discs from around the world including from Asia and the States but after checking, there do seem to be several imports not included on this list. Singles are also not included. Clicking on each album produces a larger image of the cover if available and a track listing. The menus are all very blue in keeping with the albums title however the album itself has a very pink feel to it, from the sleeve to the actual disc. That amount of pink on screen might have been painful so I am thankful that a muted blue was chosen instead.

Of the extras available, only the commentary is available to those without a DVD-Audio playback facility. This is non-selectable and when each track is playing the commentary is placed over a photo which would have been one of several available to DVD-Audio players. I would have thought the video would have been selectable but that menu is not available to non DVD-Audio players.

Why is all the packaging pink when the content and title of the DVD is Blue?

Overall
(Nearly) Irish pop at it’s greatest? It is certainly getting there. This album is energetic and a lot of fun however its staying power might not be too long. The singles are all quite good but the other tracks do not stand out too much. The DVD-Audio version is quite a lot better than the CD version since there are just so many backing vocals present, and these are all pumped through the surround speakers which certainly make this feel a lot more involved. As with a lot of these DVD-Audio discs, I would really recommend that fans upgrade to this new format, however I bet I can count the number of Corrs fans who are old enough to afford a DVD-Audio player on one hand. I am however glad that Warner are releasing newer titles on this excellent format instead of just re-releasing their back catalogue.  


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