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Clannad - Sirius CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.68 | 15 ratings

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2 stars A nice surprise to see CLANNAD here! Personally I wouldn't even had the guts to suggest the inclusion, having listened mostly to their later, more commercially produced pop output since my teens, without any thoughts of prog connections. It's naturally the acoustic early era which is the most noteworthy from the prog's point of view.

This was my first Clannad album, bought as a new vinyl at the time of release (sold away some years later). I don't remember had I already heard Macalla (1985), the one before Sirius, which is better known and appreciated -- and better in my view too. My self-made Clannad compilation CD contains only half of the Sirius tracks, so I turned to Youtube to refresh my memory. Yeah, exactly as I remembered: most of the rest are weak songs with a clinical production, and the very synthetic opening track 'In Search of a Heart' is the worst example. Programmed drums, uugh! 'Second Nature' is better both for composition and arrangement featuring some Celtic colour.

'Stepping Stone' would be a decent song but it's marred by the programmed sound. 'Live and Learn' is quite similar, nothing but middle-of-the-road 80's pop with saxes typical for the time. The electric guitar solo sounds nice. It must be pointed out that the guest list on this uneven and partially overproduced album is twice as long as the core line-up. Some familiar prog-releted names such as saxophonist Mel Collins and Peter-John Vettese (early 80's Jethro Tull)...

Five songs are good. 'Turning Tide' has a powerful and mysterious atmosphere, and the chorus ("woh-hoo-ow-ow, ye-hee-eeh-eeh... soul of a proud man drowns") is alluring, not to speak of the instrumental section with a fast flute solo, and a grand orchestral passage. Also 'Skellig' has that mysterious flavour.

'White Fool' is perhaps the least "commercially safe" track with its tribal themes but the production is slightly too clinical for it. 'Something to Believe in' features Bruce Hornsby in an essential guest role and it's a superb, emotionally strong pop song. Lovely, in a word. The acoustic-guitar centred 'Many Roads' is a light ballad, perhaps quite harmless but needed where it is, before the grandiose title track.

So, this is an extremely uneven album, a tough one to rate. In a pop context I'd give three stars, but here two stars feels more accurate.

Matti | 2/5 |


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