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Clannad - Landmarks CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.76 | 10 ratings

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4 stars It was third time lucky for CLANNAD with their album "Landmarks" finally anointing them a Grammy for best new age recording, although perhaps this may have had more to do not having to compete with ENYA that year. The title itself is somewhat misleading as it suggests compilation more than new studio release. I don't want to give the Grammy people too much credit for astuteness but this is a vast improvement on "Lore" in almost every way, and probably Clannad's crowning achievement of the 1990s.

Firstly, the track lengths are more appropriate to the group style, which more than compensate for the relatively short overall running time. In addition, lead guitar has been well incorporated into several songs including the mesmerizing opener "An Gleann" (almost improved upon in the trance like "Cantoma" mix version appearing as bonus track) and the romantic "Court to Love", which includes uillean pipes. The keyboards on the outstanding Gaelic number "A Mhuimin O" help propel the infectious rhythm, and here the group reaches a rapprochement with RUNRIG.

Instead of just contenting themselves with pretty and airy arrangements too frequently derailed by their own inertia, Clannad engages the audience with a surprising light jazz instrumental in "Golden Ball", reminiscent of early MOVING HEARTS and including jaunty sax by MEL COLLINS. Even when they return to ultra chill in "Bridge of Tears", a ringer for contemporaneous LOREENA MCKENNITT, they introduce a few vocal twists. "Autumn Leaves are Falling" compares to PENTANGLE at their best, with Collins again embellishing in style.

It has been said that it's all in the details with CLANNAD, and "Landmarks" seems to have included those omitted by "Lore". 3.5 stars rounded up for a release that almost lives up to its name, and remained their most recent album for almost 15 years.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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