STYLE: Celtic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 146384-21257 LABEL: ARC EUCD2471 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Brendan O'Regan
We've come to expect a certain kind of sound from Irish band Clannad - ethereal music with challenging imagery, conjuring up Celtic mists (as on the CD cover!), and we get plenty of that here. But this collection goes beyond that and also features some striking contemporary songs, including some with spiritual themes. "Vellum" could be about the Bible and the manuscripts of old Irish monks - "Sacred words were scratched on sacred skins. . ./Sacred words still speaking/To bring the message from the annals", though Christians might take issue with the Latin motif "Adoremus Vellum" as if we would adore the Scriptures rather that the God who dwells within. Some Christians also might not like the New Age vibes in general. In "Transatlantic" Moya Brennan sings a touching song of a mother concerned for her son who seems to have left Ireland for America - "Look out for my son/He is so very young/Look out for my son/My blood and bone". My favourite track is "Brave Enough" - an insistent drumbeat introduces lyrics that we can all relate to at one time or another - "I will need to face what I've done/I will stay true/I know what is wrong/Am I strong, will I fail, am I brave enough today". Moya's distinctive voice is joined here effectively by another Irish singer, Duke Special. "Fishing Blues" is one of the weaker tracks, with a catchy but predictable melody and some dodgy rhymes ("On a starry night/You could get a fright"). "The Song In Your Heart" is a wistful number with a memorable chorus, single release material perhaps. "Hymn (To Her Love)" is a pleasant piece but I must admit I couldn't figure out what it was about. It's partly in Irish and a few other songs are completely in Irish. "Setanta" is probably the most typically Clannad song, with its epic Celtic sound as it tells the story of an ancient Irish legend, that of the brave warrior Cúchulainn, previously known as Setanta. No doubt the legion of Clannad fans will welcome this album.
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