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Clannad - Crann Ull CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.38 | 9 ratings

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3 stars It took almost 4 years for CLANNAD to follow up "Dulaman" with another studio album, an eternity in those days. The gap was partially filled with several major tours and a live disk populated mostly with pieces hitherto unavailable on the first 3 LPs. "Crann Ull" is the first in a series of transitional albums between the jazz tinged Celtic folk of the 1970s and the ambient prog tinged folk rock of the late 1980s, but it's a baby step, which is a perfect segue to introducing baby sister Enya to the band, although her role remained limited during her two album sojourn, particularly here. Like "Clannad in Concert", this was produced by Nicky Ryan, who maintained a long association with Enya's solo career, and whose interest in electronica began to transform the musical lexicon of both acts.

Not surprisingly, it's here that Clannad first begins to sound slick and, at times, staid. While the blend of Maire's versatile voice and Enya's keyboards does generate chemistry on the opening cut, and the instrumental "A Strange Day in the Countryside" fulfills the promise of its title and more, the overall effect is too subdued for its own good. Most of the rest of the tracks pale next to the focus of the first 3 albums, and fans discovering "Crann Ull" some years later also had the benefit of hearing these embryonic ideas brought to fruition on "Fuaim" and "Magical Ring".

This is still alluring music; that's a given with most of Clannad's output from any era, but beauty and timidity struggle to consummate, one being unwilling to give, the other unable. I recommend holding out for the tastier apples about to ripen on the branches of this family tree

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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