Shane Filan

Love Always

(Ocean Wave Records/Universal)

Another album from the still young Irish singer and once again we have tuneful singing, a crisp delivery that still has warmth, clear production and professional arrangements. But once again, what’s missing? Answer – any sense of abandon or originality. The songs listing time and time again have you muttering ‘Good song..but why?’ Does he or does someone involved think that he can add anything at all to these songs? This chap’s voice deserves to be heard by more than Westlife fanatics and loading a new album with karaoke favourites gives him no chance to fly. This wouldn’t matter if he didn’t have potential. And if he hadn’t pretty much done the same last time around.

This I Promise You is a pretty enough start and is a tried and trusted Richard Marx tune. He holds a note well. The strings sound rich and well engineered. On to the Crowded House gem Don’t Dream It’s Over and the arrangement cops the original, the phrasing is xerox’d. Lovely song and good for a crowd singalong but…

Make You Feel My Love is renowned among musicians as the Dylan romantic song that the hoi polloi thinks is from Adele because of her wan rendition. Shane goes the gentle acoustic route. It is beautifully played but again the phrasing offers nothing new. Beautiful In White even has the bells in the opening stanza’’d need a heart of stone not to laugh. An all-out attempt to land the top spot as the Wedding First Number and it is rendered with great precision by the players.

When I first saw Need You Now performed by Lady Antebellum I knew it had a long life as a melodic favourite. The pace is a bit more solid and the chorus full-blooded. No doubt a concert crowd-pleaser but no chances are taken. Heaven is the Bryan Adams favourite and the slow pace is Filan’s comfort zone, as it ever was.

Completely is at last an original opening with solemn piano. Filan puts over an edge-of-melancholy ambience over. You can tell he is putting much more of himself into this performance, which is keyed near the top of his range and wrings some soul out of him. This, Shane is how I want to hear you. Pianist Jamie Scott came up with Unbreakable so we have chance to hear a fresher side of the singer here. There’s a tinge of McCartney in the cadences and it’s catchy, too. OK it’s not Alice Cooper, but it doesn’t need to be.

Eyes Don’t Lie is another original. It’s another traditional-arrangement ballad dammit but the very neat drumwork by Brian Rawling presumably frames the tune in brilliant style. The strings ape any number of Westlife arrangements. A trumpet counterpoint to the vocal would have put a bit of fairy dust on this.

I Can’t Make You Love Me has its definitive version on that fabulous Bonnie Raitt live double album with a Bruce Hornsby piano break that kills. It’s been mauled by many and whilst Filan doesn’t go wrong, there’s nothing to commend this rendition. Next up is Filan’s Crazy Over You which reminds me of Here There & Everywhere in its acoustic guitar bed. It’s another ballad and he sings very well but doesn’t sound crazy. A tad fond, maybe. Then we are back to a cover in the shape on The Bangles universal hit Eternal Flame. Not one phrase altered, customised, shaped….

Shane – please live a little! – don’t rush to inherit the mantle of Val Doonican!

Pete Sargeant


You can watch the official music video for Unbreakable' in this article.

All of our Shane Filan articles can be found here:

Shane Filan's new album 'Love Always' is out now on Ocean Wave Records/Universal.

For more information visit his official website here:

In addition, Shane Filan will be embarking on a 14-date 'Love Always' UK Tour in April/May 2018. The tour will stop at the following venues:

Shane Filan
Shane Filan

Monday 30th April 2018 - Sage, Gateshead, United Kingdom

Tuesday 1st May 2018 - De Montfort Hall, Leicester, United Kingdom

Wednesday 2nd May 2018 - City Hall, Sheffield, United Kingdom

Friday 4th May 2018 - City Hall, Hull, United Kingdom

Saturday 5th May 2018 - New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, United Kingdom 

Sunday 6th May 2018 - Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton, United Kingdom

Monday 7th May 2018 - Regent Theatre, Ipswich, United Kingdom

Wednesday 9th May 2018 - Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom

Thursday 10th May 2018 - Corn Exchange, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Friday 11th May 2018 - GLive, Guildford, United Kingdom

Saturday 12th May 2018 - Opera House, Manchester, United Kingdom

Monday 14th May 2018 - Swansea Grand Theatre, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom

Tuesday 15th May 2018 - Liverpool Olympia, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Wednesday 16th May 2018 - Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom