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Cool Spin: MacManus Brothers, ‘Elephant in the Room’

As I write this, the MacManus Brothers are playing onstage at Kew Gardens, London, opening for their brother, Elvis Costello, and fans who scored tickets to see Costello solo are lucky and then some. Younger siblings Ronan and Ruairi have a marvelous new batch of original songs to share, Everlys-style. Their harmonies are sweet and gritty; the arrangements are guitar-centric, layered but very rhythmic and solo-free: This is all about the songs and the singers. Every vocal performance on Elephant in the Room is full of heart, from tender songs like the ballad of family life “SpiderMan and DangerMouse,” to jangly rockers like “Nothing Matters When You’re Young.” After a couple of listens, I’m still not sure what the Elephant in the Room is, but that doesn’t seem to be necessary to be smitten by the music.