The War Against Silence Review by Glenn McDonald 196 · 29 October 98 The Kennedys: Angel Fire
Pete and Maura Kennedy (husband and wife, not siblings, but close enough) had a few of those moments, too, on their understated debut album, River of Fallen Stars, which had a few single chords, even, that I felt like I could listen to for hours. Life Is Large, though, their second record, found them trying to be an electric pop group, juggling more than a dozen famous guests, and in the process losing me completely. I'm thus pleased to discover that for Angel Fire they've fallen back on their own devices, enlisting a pianist and drummer on two songs, and a bassist and drummer on one more, but otherwise just relying on Pete's guitars and their earnest, bordering on artless, harmonies. The Kennedys' mode I like best is the one in which they attempt to add a few more entries to the catalog of songs for which twelve-string guitar was introduced to the world, a book that always opens, in my edition, with "The Bells of Rhymney". One or two of these per album is more than enough, I think. River of Fallen Stars had the title track, and "Stephen's Green". Angel Fire has the airy "Bells & Loaves & Letters", the spiraling "Feather in the Flame" and the undulating "A Letter to Emily", so the rest of it could be burglar alarms for all I care. But unless you are currently being robbed, the Byrds-y "A Common Bond", "The Fire & the Rose" and "A Place in Time", the "This Land Is Your Land"-esque folk-rock sing-along "Just Like Henry David", the Runrig-like "A Bend in the River" and the distorted, drum-machine propelled "Jesse" (which bears an uncanny resemblance to Tori Amos' cover of "Ring My Bell") will probably be even better.