Into Paradise album recaps band's previous UK work
By SANDE CHEN
INTO PARADISE, an Irish band now based in South London, starts its US tour this fall, hoping to follow the star-streaked paths of such groups as Sin'ead O'Connor and World Party. The group's self-titled US debut is culled from former UK album Under the Water (1990) and the EP Change.
Into Paradise, previously Backwards Into Paradise, originally began in 1986 with Dublin music veterans David Long and bassist Rachael Tighe. In 1988, they added guitarist/keyboardist James Eadie and drummer Roman Clarke. The following year, Into Paradise released its debut EP Blue Light on the independent label Setanta. Soon after came the EP Change and the band's first full-length album, Under the Water.
The American compilation is supposed to be an overview of the band, but the best material is probably the early pieces. "Bring Me Close" characterizes Into Paradise's distinctive style of guitar-driven melodies and syncopated chordal backgrounds. "Red Light" begins with Pixies overtones, but directly goes to the group's noticeable format, as does the moody "Change." Nostalgic "The Circus Came to Town" and "The Pleasure is Over" are both works of rare beauty.
Unfortunately, on the B-side, "Under the Water" is the only song that maintains this quality. "Hearts and Flowers," with its preoccupation on ice cream, could start off better than with incessant "la, la, la, la"s. "Heaven" is very good, but the bass gets tiresome at times. "Say Goodnight" exudes a sad irony. David Long sings:
The singer says to save the world,
but I don't believe in the singer's words. . . .
I say good-bye to this freak affair
but there's a light inside that never dies.
Into Paradise is most lacking when it depends primarily on the piano, as in "The World Won't Stop." However, this song is probably a band favorite since it was the only song that had lyrics printed, obvious grammatical errors and all.
As an added note, David Long's voice is not generally pleasant. One needs to habituate to it before enjoying this album. Into Paradise would benefit much from repeated radio airplay.
Currently, the prolific band has finished a new album and remains eager to perform its first North American shows.