Fires – I love this! An uplifting, upbeat, shiny, summery track full of reds and golds, and a brilliant opener to the album. It’s impossible not to feel good listening to this. I like the sentiment of the video for this, too, although it’s far too grey for the vibrancy of the song.

I’ve Got You – my absolute favourite track on the album, a big, guitar-led song of purples, pinks and star-studded skies. It’s a song to crank up to full volume and play on repeat with your car windows down and the breeze in your hair, or for spinning around on a cliff top with arms spread out wide. I love it. It makes my heart soar. Ronan’s voice is so strong in this, with those beautiful, pure, unwavering long notes. Wonderful.

Love You And Leave You – a lovely heartfelt track that begins with a slightly laid-back, bluesy feel, but which builds and unfolds slowly, increasing in intensity and layers of sound, with more of those high-reaching vocals. It makes me think of hazy sunlight reflected on water.

Nineteen Again – a fun, bouncy, shiny red number that does what it says on the tin (give or take a year or two!), with echoes in the keyboards of ‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’, ‘Lovin’ Each Day’ and the New Radicals’ ‘You Get What You Give’ (as if we could have mistaken this for being anyone other than Gregg Alexander anyway – he’s great at vibrant, shiny tracks!). Guaranteed to put you in a good mood!

Wasted Light – a lovely song that has grown on me; a more folksy sound in sunset pink, aquamarine and incandescent white like Kendal Mint Cake. I was intrigued to hear Ronan say in an interview that this song was about two people on a journey who realise they’re not meant to be together, when the meaning I took from it was one of wasted opportunity: “And though the sun shines on even after you’re gone, I feel sorry for the wasted light.” But perhaps that’s two ways of looking at the same thing. Anyway, terrific song – would definitely lend itself to an acoustic version too.

Lullaby feat. KizMusic – a beautiful song; Ronan’s vocals are wonderfully soft. I knew in advance that one of the songs had a guest rapper and, on first listening, was surprised to discover it was this one – that was unexpected. I admit that I’m not a fan of rap but this isn’t as jarring as I’d feared it would be.

Easy Now My Dear – a very lovely, gentle candlelight-coloured waltz with soothing piano and strings and soft but strong vocals from Ronan. There’s something vaguely Christmassy about it in a way I can’t define; there’s some hint of log fires in here somewhere.

NYC Girl – this is wonderfully funky; harking back to the disco of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ but in a very modern guise. The vocals sound all playful and full of smiles. I like how the backing ‘N’, ‘Y’, ‘C’ and ‘Girl’ all tie in with the main lyrics Ronan’s singing too.

Oxygen – I’m not a big fan of dance tracks unless they’re proper songs rather than just the same old beat – and this one is certainly a proper song. It’s great! It’s upbeat and fun, in ebony and shiny blues, with lovely deeper tones in Ronan’s voice (I love the honey-coloured “Fill up my lungs and let me come alive, come alive” bit) – yet another track that shows off his diversity.

Close Your Eyes – I really like this: a rockier track, again big on sound and depth in shades of deep blue, and the kind of rock that Ronan’s voice is made for.

Get Back To What Is Real – a deep metallic aquamarine, polished wall of sound from Gregg Alexander this time. There’s something slightly haunting and youthful about this song, as if the sun comes out from behind the clouds in the chorus. It’s a good counterpoint to ‘Nineteen Again’.

The One You Love – another favourite, this beautiful song starts softly, gently, and gradually builds and builds, bringing in guitars as Ronan’s voice soars. I feel a slight sadness in this song; it’s a song that pulls at you; there’s power not only in the increasing sweep of the music but also Ronan’s vocals; it gives me goosebumps every time. A stunning song to end the album with (for the non-deluxe version): it both satisfies and leaves you wanting more (more albums, please, Ro!).

It’s Alright – a springtime song, light, bouncy and full of sunshine that makes me think of clear skies and meadows filled with daisies on a lazy afternoon. Ronan’s voice is so laid-back, all carefree and easy, matching the lyrics of the song perfectly. Can’t wait for the film!

Will You Ever Be Mine? – a teasing, matt teal song with hints of burnished gold – unusual for a Gregg Alexander track to be matt. There’s a nice, edgier sound to the guitar and to Ronan’s vocals in this song.

Lullaby – as I said before, this is a beautiful song, but I can see why Ronan felt it needed a little something extra. I like the way the music builds after the second verse and chorus; but this would also be great fully acoustic.

So, to summarise, ‘Fires’ is a fabulous, confident, filler-free album with finely honed, mature songs and wonderful vocals that go even further beyond the heights reached by Boyzone’s ‘Brother’ album. Ronan’s always been a master of the soft vocals (Lullaby, Love You And Leave You, Easy Now My Dear), but this album also gives us long, reaching notes (I’ve Got You, Wasted Light), deeper tones (Oxygen) and more playful sounds (NYC Girl) – and, as with ‘Brother’, all while making it sound so effortless. Amazing. A distinctive voice but with vocals that sound new and fresh and different, make you wonder how he does it, and wonder how he could ever have done anything else. This is how it should be. “I’m falling in love again with…guess who?” You’ve found your sound, Ronan, and it’s fantastic. More please!

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