Sinead O’Connor decided to be true to the title (which means “old style but new”) of her collection of traditional Irish tunes by trying “to ‘sexy’ them up” with bits of Jamaican rhythm and electronic tweaks. But Sean-N-s Nua gets plenty sexy just when she wraps her warm-blooded voice around a fine old melody. Fiddles and pipes are the prominent accompaniment, and they do best when they stay out of her way, as on “Molly Malone,” destined to be a peak O’Connor performance. These cover tunes also prove she’s better off right now borrowing other songwriters’ notions of mysticism and melodrama. Longer tracks such as “Peggy Gordon” and “Lord Baker” (a duet with Christy Moore) are slow and stately enough to suggest a grab for the Enya market, but O’Connor is never disembodied and always impulsive, moody in your ear.
Her most rapturous work in a decade.