Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Clannad - Anam CD (album) cover



Prog Folk

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Prog-Folk Team
2 stars After the atypical "Sirius" set disappointed earlier support, CLANNAD undertook a world tour while returning to soundtrack work for "Atlantic Realm" and "The Angel and the Soldier Boy". They also filled the gap with a well received compilation "Pastpresent" and an accompanying video with interviews and excerpts of the band on record, on video, in rehearsal and on stage. Before returning to the studio to record "Anam", Pol Brennan left the band for solo work, the first departure of an original member. Given that he appeared to be the force beyond the band's move towards rock, it is not surprising that "Anam" is much mellower than what came before. What is surprising is that this doesn't just border on soporific, but embraces the new age as if the band believed that sister ENYA's success had more to do with the invasion of record shops by sleepwalkers than any level of conscious movement.

Of the 10 tracks, a staggering 6 barely have a pulse, as pretty as they may be. Two are even instrumental, a rarity for the band. In the sole rocker, "In Fortune's Hand", the voices do not rise above a loud whisper, and it's left to MEL COLLINS' sax to muster a modicum of raunchiness. He delivers another dandy performance in "Why Worry", which actually sounds like a very subdued CAMEL or more accurately a good PETE BARDENS solo track, cheesy in an irresistible way. The only track that hearkens back to the melodic sensibility of "Macalla" is the magnificent ballad "The Poison Glen", which is one of their most fully realized ecologically themed efforts. "Love and Affection" is another appealing if minimally challenging piece.

For the rest, it would depend on whether beautiful is enough for you; if you enjoy delicate amorphous tunes based more on repetition or trance induction than dramatic flair and emotive intensity, by all means seek this out. From my perspective, "Anam" marked the beginning of the end for CLANNAD as a dynamic recording group even as it kicked off their career as world music masters. It has soul yes, but one so fragile that it seems only fit for eternal rest.

Report this review (#1495835)
Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2015 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
2 stars With Anam, released in 1990, Clannad continues to release albums with their mix of Celtic folk and Celtic pop. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it doesn't. This album has a few highlights, but the best ones are the tracks that were added on for the 1992 US release. This was at a time when the family band was enjoying increasing popularity in the states, what with Celtic and new age music being quite popular. That is why the tracks "In a Lifetime" and "Harry's Game" were added onto this album in the US. "In a Lifetime" featured guest vocalist Bono from U2 and "Harry's Game" was used on a popular Volkswagen commercial. Yes these were excellent songs, but they were not found on the original album. However, among the sleepy, softer songs of this album, there were a few gems.

"Ri Na Cruinne" is a nice opener sung in their traditional language even though it was written by the band. This was followed by "In a Lifetime" on the US version. "Anam" however, is a softer song and immediately loses the energy from the previous song. Even though it is English, it is hard to find anything interesting about it. "In Fortune's Hand" goes for the more pop sound and even adds a saxophone part performed by Mel Collins, originally from King Crimson, but the sax sounds totally out of place on this track and makes the song sound cheesy. "The Poison Glen" takes a slight turn for the better, but is mostly unmemorable.

"Wilderness" is a lovely acoustic guitar solo with a few synth treatments, but it's short. The popular "Harry's Game" is added on the US version at this point, and continues with the sudden turn for the better. The harmonies in this non-English song are very beautiful and relaxing. "Why Worry" features Collins again on the sax, but it feels more natural in this song, so it's decent. "Úirchill An Chreagáin" is Celtic traditional folk, and it's only vocal and acoustic solo. Many times I feel Clannad is better at staying with the folk sound than with their attempts at pop, but this is not the case with this track. For listeners of Clannad's music, it's starting to feel a bit tired and worn out. At this point, a few more traditional instruments would have made it more fresh and interesting.

The next two tracks continue in the pop vein, but are mostly just mediocre and "Dobhar" is a soft instrumental which isn't too bad, but mostly unremarkable. It's like on this album, things were just getting too formulaic for the band. Except for a few tracks and a couple of add ons for the US release, this is just a tired album. If you are a fan, you will love it, but Clannad had better albums than this one, so typical listeners won't really find much to hold their interest here.

Report this review (#1952166)
Posted Wednesday, July 25, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars A farewell to Clannad. In spite of the absence of Pol (one of the two main generators of musical ideas in the band), Anam is a genuine Clannad album. Moreover, it's a Clannad album with partial return to the band's canon, with a couple of tracks sung in Gaelic and one traditional song (their previous studio album, Sirius, included no traditional material or Gaelic singing at all). And it was the last genuine Clannad album. Ahead was slow decline and gradual loss of individuality, then long silence, then long awaited return of 'good-but-non-essential' type. Maybe some new great albums are still to come in future, nobody knows. But for the moment, Clannad ended up with Anam. Honestly, I don't understand those who scold this album. No idea why should it be rated lower than The Magical Ring, I like it even better. There's no super hit like Theme From Harry's Game or Newgrange there, but on the other hand, no failure like Thios Fa'n Chosta. It's difficult to mark highlights, almost all the tracks are choice. My personal faves are Ri Na Cruinne, The Poison Glen, Wilderness, Why Worry? and Dobhar, slow and sad instrumental closing track. That's what classic Clannad was over with.
Report this review (#1954072)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2018 | Review Permalink

CLANNAD Anam ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of CLANNAD Anam

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives