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It is perhaps not coincidental that Christy Moore's last albums of the '90s, recorded as he struggled with the possibility that poor health would force him to retire from live performance, rank among the best of his career. Traveller is a lushly produced foray into the previously uncharted territory of U2-esque technopop. Many of the songs on Traveller are traditional Irish favorites that have appeared in more conservative arrangements on previous Moore albums. Producer/engineer/programmer/keyboardist Leo Pearson plays a significant role in crafting every track, gracefully blending his synthesizers, drum machines, and electric guitars (including some played by U2's The Edge) with healthy doses of uileann pipe, bouzouki, bowran, flute, and acoustic guitar. The results are occasionally strained, but always fascinating and often brilliant. "Last Cold Kiss" is a chillingly executed tragic ballad that allows Moore to sing a duet beyond the grave with a recording of his father, Andy Moore, who died in 1956. Another highlight is "The Sirens Voice," a powerful and startlingly original indictment of Irish callousness toward immigrant refugees from Somalia. Throughout the album, the cultural clash afforded by the juxtaposition of modern musical technology with time-honored folk tradition is used to profound effect; it underlines the emotional and spiritual alienation of contemporary life and adds weight to timeless questions of mortality and justice. If this album is the result of Moore's retirement from concert performance, then it hasn't been a total loss. ~ Evan Cater, Rovi
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