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Clannad - Anam CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.66 | 11 ratings

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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.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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