Way back in 1979, Stephen Duffy was a founding member of Duran Duran, a synth-pop juggernaut that went on to mega-stardom in the early days of MTV. Duffy took a different path, first as a solo artist then by starting The Lilac Time with brother Nick in 1987. The Lilac Time have been making pastoral folk/pop for almost three decades — in fits and starts — and ninth full-length “No Sad Songs” ranks among their more enjoyable offerings.
The Brothers Duffy are joined in the band by Claire Duffy (Stephen’s wife) and Melvin Duffy (no relation), and this solid 10-track release marks their first album since 2004’s “Keep Going.” Even after all these years, Stephen Duffy’s voice remains strong and his songwriting is as sharp and poignant as ever.
“No Sad Songs” gets off to a first-rate start with “The First Song of Spring” and “She Writes a Symphony,” and The Lilac Time later score with keepers like the title track, “The Dream That Woke Me,” “The Western Greyhound” and “A Cat on the Longwave.” In addition to a booklet of lyrics, “No Sad Songs” also includes a collection of Stephen Duffy-penned poems about the songs. (Jeffrey Sisk)