Galway born Ultan Conlon calls Songs Of Love So Cruel a concept album, but before you run away, this is not one of those over blown self-indulgent releases from the Seventies; no this is quite the opposite. Inspired by imagining those couples who have grown apart after years of marriage, Conlon has assembled ten delightfully crafted reflections of love and heartbreak.

Sung with a gentle but slightly vulnerable vocal the songs are given time to breathe and the likes of Bristlecone Pines underline the disguised sentiment. A warm and gentle acoustic backing sits underneath a tormented story of lovers separating; "If you go I'll love you for all time, if you stay here we will only fight." There are more references to nature on The River Flows & The Woods Creep where he is joined by Sabrina Dinan on vocal in another tail of broken hearts.

Even though the concept of heartbreak overwhelms the album, it is not one paced and therefore avoids being too introspective as the delightful, almost jolly, opener In The Mad demonstrates, where there is more than a nod to Roy Orbison. There is a harder edge to A Place Of Sanctuary, while Lonely Avenues is a country shuffle. Songs Of Love So Cruel does what it says on the tin, but without the musical torment. An impressively simple but classy album.