U2 is reportedly working on a new album in its old style, but who needs 'em? The Sheila Divine has its own version of that stirring Celtic-rock sound, complete with surging melodies, dramatic flourishes and yearning vocals. "I have purpose/ I won't settle," declares singer-guitarist Aaron Perrino in the opening song from the Boston trio's "New Parade," and if it's not clear exactly what he means, it nonetheless sounds earnest and noble.
Like many British or Irish bands of the last 20 years, the Sheila Divine has a taste for grandeur that it tempers with an economical approach; the trio is supplemented by session keyboardists on half the album's tracks, but wisely avoids the backing choirs and string sessions that are implicit in its sound. The band's most clear-cut aim is to announce itself: "In my mouth there is a hurricane/ Just let it out/ On the radio a bunch of fakes/ Just shut them down," declares "Hum." The Sheila Divine isn't distinctive enough to fulfill this promise of self-proclaimed rock messiahdom, but on such songs as "The Modern Log" Perrino does a pretty convincing impression of having a hurricane in his mouth.
Appearing Wednesday at the Velvet Lounge with Peroxide. To hear a free Sound Bite from the Sheila Divine, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8103. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)