Sinead Lohan may look like a dreadlocked, streetbusking hippie type, but her music sounds tailor-made for the sitting-room and her concert at Dublin's Temple Bar Music Centre was as comfortable - and soporific - as your grandad's easy chair. It shouldn't come as a surprise: the young Cork singer-songwriter first came to our attention via A Woman's Heart, and her debut album, produced by Declan Sinnott, was a pleasant but unchallenging collection of neo-Celtic pop ballads. There was always the hope that Lohan would break out of the Irish auntie stereotype, and when she recently signed a major international deal it looked as though she might expand her horizons; however, these hopes were dashed by Monday's gig, which saw her remaining firmly in a safe, middle-of-the-bothar formula.
The problem lay not with Lohan's voice (she had a cold), nor with the sound (there were, I was told, a few technical problems), but with the undynamic melodies and wallpaper arrangements. The music on her new album, No Mermaid, is a picturesque, soft-focus hybrid of Celtic lilt and watery New Age lull.
If Lohan stayed true to her roots, she could be writing songs with fire and sparkle and getting like-minded folk-rock musicians to back her up with rootsy flair and earthy energy. Instead, she seems to be pandering to the romantic image of the nice Irish rose - and making the kind of record you'd take home to your mom.