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Clannad - Anam CD (album) cover

ANAM

Clannad

 

Prog Folk

2.66 | 11 ratings

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TCat
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.

TCat | 2/5 |

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