On his first solo album in ten years, our Canadian of the Sorrows pulls off a ton of ambiance, calls in some prestigious cameos, and ultimately delivers too few real songs. This is a collection of moods more than melodies, and even though Emmylou Harris and Bono help out on some tracks, there are too few cases in which tune trumps texture.
Best-known for his production work for Peter Gabriel and U2, Lanois has released an intriguing pair of solo albums during the past 14 years; the keeper is his shimmering debut, Acadie. Here, however, he too often resembles others -- "Sometimes" sounds like Paul Simon trying on James Taylor's "Handyman" for size; "Slow Giving" conjures the most saccharine Crosby, Stills & Nash -- and Lanois' wispy voice rarely rises above the material. There are some fine songs, but there are also too many instrumentals -- their frequency suggests that Lanois ran out of ideas before he ran out of textures. Emotional sensitivity is the currency here, not power, making Shine an ambiguous experience at best.
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