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Clannad Sirius album cover
2.72 | 19 ratings | 4 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. In Search Of A Heart (3:53)
2. Second Nature (3:20)
3. Turning Tide (4:39)
4. Skellig (4:46)
5. Stepping Stone (3:53)
6. White Fool (4:38)
7. Something To Believe In (4:46)
8. Live And Learn (3:32)
9. Many Roads (3:25)
10. Sirius (5:33)

Total Time 42:25

Bonus tracks on 2003 remaster:
11. The Hunter (4:08)
12. World Of Difference (4:01)

Line-up / Musicians

- Máire Brennan / lead vocals, harp
- Noel Duggan / guitar, vocals
- Pádraig Duggan / mandolin, guitar, vocals
- Pól Brennan / flute, guitar, percussion, vocals
- Ciarán Brennan / double bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals

- Bruce Hornsby / vocals & piano (2,7), accordion (2)
- Steve Perry / harmony vocals (6)
- J.D. Souther / vocals (10)
- Robbie Blunt / guitar (1-3,6,8,10)
- Philip Donnelly / acoustic (3) & electric (5,7) guitars
- Peter-John Vettese / keyboards, bass (4,5), flute (3)
- Jai Winding / keyboards (1,3,7)
- Wells Christie / Synclavier (3,4)
- Mel Collins / saxophone (2,8,9,11,12)
- Richie Cannata / saxophone (8)
- Tommy Keane / Uillean pipes (2,4)
- Russ Kunkel / drums, percussion (5,6,9), co-producer
- Richard Niles / string arrangements (3)
- Ian Parker / keyboards (11,12)
- Paul Ridout / programming (11,12)
- Arran Ahmun / drums (11,12)

Releases information

Artwork: Mainartery with Walter Mayr (photo)

LP RCA ‎- PL 71513 (1987, Ireland)

CD RCA ‎- PD 71513 (1987, Europe)
CD RCA ‎- 82876 545012 (2003, Europe) Remastered by Ian Cooper with 2 bonus tracks, new cover

Thanks to kenethlevine for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy CLANNAD Sirius Music

CLANNAD Sirius ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
Good, but non-essential (63%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

CLANNAD Sirius reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
2 stars A nice surprise to see CLANNAD here! Personally I wouldn't even had the guts to suggest the inclusion, having listened mostly to their later, more commercially produced pop output since my teens, without any thoughts of prog connections. It's naturally the acoustic early era which is the most noteworthy from the prog's point of view.

This was my first Clannad album, bought as a new vinyl at the time of release (sold away some years later). I don't remember had I already heard Macalla (1985), the one before Sirius, which is better known and appreciated -- and better in my view too. My self-made Clannad compilation CD contains only half of the Sirius tracks, so I turned to Youtube to refresh my memory. Yeah, exactly as I remembered: most of the rest are weak songs with a clinical production, and the very synthetic opening track 'In Search of a Heart' is the worst example. Programmed drums, uugh! 'Second Nature' is better both for composition and arrangement featuring some Celtic colour.

'Stepping Stone' would be a decent song but it's marred by the programmed sound. 'Live and Learn' is quite similar, nothing but middle-of-the-road 80's pop with saxes typical for the time. The electric guitar solo sounds nice. It must be pointed out that the guest list on this uneven and partially overproduced album is twice as long as the core line-up. Some familiar prog-releted names such as saxophonist Mel Collins and Peter-John Vettese (early 80's Jethro Tull)...

Five songs are good. 'Turning Tide' has a powerful and mysterious atmosphere, and the chorus ("woh-hoo-ow-ow, ye-hee-eeh-eeh... soul of a proud man drowns") is alluring, not to speak of the instrumental section with a fast flute solo, and a grand orchestral passage. Also 'Skellig' has that mysterious flavour.

'White Fool' is perhaps the least "commercially safe" track with its tribal themes but the production is slightly too clinical for it. 'Something to Believe in' features Bruce Hornsby in an essential guest role and it's a superb, emotionally strong pop song. Lovely, in a word. The acoustic-guitar centred 'Many Roads' is a light ballad, perhaps quite harmless but needed where it is, before the grandiose title track.

So, this is an extremely uneven album, a tough one to rate. In a pop context I'd give three stars, but here two stars feels more accurate.

Review by kenethlevine
3 stars Regarded by many as a major misstep, "Sirius" is notable for being the only CLANNAD album that actually rocks with any consistency. It was recorded in LA and includes guest spots by some of its era's biggest names - STEVE PERRY, BRUCE HORNSBY, and RUSS KUNKEL among them. The attempt to Americanize the band's style was ill advised, and the album saw dwindling sales everywhere. Yet somehow the band's overall popularity remained intact, with the subsequent compilation "Past Present" rocketing to number 5 in the UK charts in spite of the predominance of selections from "Sirius".

My own perspective is that this is half of a great album. the first 4 tracks are all well composed and arranged, and among the most prog oriented efforts of their career. "In Search of a Heart" overcomes its programmed percussion through Maire's supreme adaptation to the rock idiom. "Second Nature" is even better, with a more adventurous arrangement on accordion and fiddle, both traditional instruments not normally part of the Clannad arsenal, but again in an affirming rock context. The next two songs, "Turning Tide" and "Skellig", represent the peak of "Sirius", a creative and haunting blend of their old and new styles. Both are nautically themed, one symbolically, the other historically, emanating from Eire's jagged shores so distant from the studio. If the whole album had been in this vein it might have not been a one-off. Unfortunately, most of the rest is just bland AOR. except for the spiritual yearning of "Something to Believe in", which is sublime AOR. Songs like "Stepping Stone", "Live and Learn", "Many Roads", and the title cut are lacking in subtlety and creativity, and weak melodically, while "White Fool" is lyrically and musically transparent to a flaw.

Certainly the weakest album of Clannad's rock period, "Sirius" remains of interest simply because it is their only effort of this kind; however, half of it is like so many other offerings of this musically barren era that you would do almost as well to seek out the others and leave this one to the fans. The other half is brilliant, so recommended to those who might be fantasizing about Clannad as a rock group. Seriously.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars When "Sirius" was released in 1987, Clannad's basic line-up of family members Brennans and Duggans was mostly intact, at least as far as the core group is concened. However, in order to make their music less folky and more poppy, they had recruited many special guests so that they could pass themselves off as a rock band. So, they brought along Bruce Hornsby to sing and play piano on "Second Nature", Steve Perry to do background vocals on "White Fool", and, for those that were wondering what Mel Collins was up to during his stint away from King Crimson, here he is bringing his sax along for several of the tracks. There is a whole host of other guests along for the ride, it almost makes you wonder, other than Maire's lovely and distinct voice, what is left for the rest of the band to do?

With a few songs from Clannad reaching the ears of American listeners and a surge of popularity and interest in Celtic music, the band was dealing with retaining that core sound, but still trying to sound relevant to American artists. They actually do a decent job, but don't expect there to be much in the way of folk or progressive sounds here. The band manages to use some traditional sounding instruments and styles, and this does add to some level of uniqueness and heart to the music, and Maire is as strong of a vocalist as ever, but it seems they have a hard time keeping the music interesting as it goes on. As far as Celtic authenticity though, it is pretty much missing in the structure of these tracks, and every one of them is mostly sung in English. There is nothing traditional about the music on this album. But both Pol and Cianran Brennan write all of the songs for the album.

"Turning Tide" is a lovely song with some excellent instrumentation involved which makes for a sweeping sound that tends to be missing in some of their earlier music. "Skellig" is the track with the most similarity to their more acoustic sound of before, but isn't really that acoustic. "White Fool" actually tries to call back to some of their better albums with the chanting, atmospheric guitars and tribal rhythms, and has a more complex thematic sound, but Steve Perry's vocals actually are a bit underwhelming here. But it is still one of the stronger entries on the album even if it misses the expected "pay-off" that it hints to. Bruce Hornsby comes back to add harmonies to "Something to Believe In" which is a nice, lush track with some good guitar, but doesn't stand out as much as it probably should. The best of the album, however, seems to be in the simpler tracks that let the band do what they do best, as in the lovely "Many Roads", a song that would have been even more beautiful if done with even less polish. And "Sirius" has a really nice electric guitar solo from guest Robbie Blunt, but the rest of the song is over produced.

The production is very slick here, and while that might sound good to pop lovers, it takes away the charm and authenticity that the band had ample amounts of previously. The music is good considering it is following more of a pop sound, but the vocals are the strongest part of the album, and this is what the record companies were hoping for, to be able to show off Moya's vocals in a pop/rock setting. But with some both strong and weak sections and songs, the album pretty much averages out to be just that, average. At least it isn't a failure. The band did the best they could and the album helped them to maintain their popularity in the UK and to some extent in the US. The album probably would have aged much better with less polish which tends to make it all sound less intimate.

Latest members reviews

2 stars No idea why they made such an album. It is unworthy of Clannad. It's not easy to imagine that the authors of Theme From Harry's Game, Newgrange, Tower Hill, Caislean Oir and The Wild Cry could fall so low. Most of the tracks from Sirius would be OK for a FM radio, provided all who's near are bus ... (read more)

Report this review (#1953863) | Posted by proghaven | Wednesday, August 1, 2018 | Review Permanlink

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