Album cover: Amarantine


Irish singer shines on 'Amarantine'

Hal Hewsom

The Leader (Ponte Vedra, FL) 2 December 2005

“Amarantine,” Enya's first studio album in five years, walks a fine line between being something slightly different for the Irish singer, and being more of the lush melodies fans are familiar with.

One of the differences is that there are no Irish lyrics on “Amarantine.”

There are, however, three songs performed in “Loxian,” a language created by author (and Enya lyricist) Roma Ryan in her book, “Water Shows the Hidden Heart.” Another song, “Sumiregusa,”even finds Enya singing in Japanese.

Also, “It's in the rain” and “Long long journey” allow Enya's voice to shine in the forefront, as opposed to the majority of her previous work which usually finds her singing somewhat hidden in the various instruments and vocal arrangements.

The particular standout on “Amarantine” is the melancholy “A moment lost,” a true love song - something of a rarity for Enya.

For the most part, “Amarantine” breaks no new ground ... which isn't, in itself, detrimental to the album.

Once again, Enya plays all the instruments and performs all the vocals. There are some distinctive pop hooks, however, not seen since 1988's “Orinoco Flow,” her best-known song.

Enya's music may be somewhat unattainable to the casual listener. She has a light, ethereal voice which, while pleasant enough to listen to, leans toward the unexceptional. Her strength - and it is a formidable strength - lies in crafting melodies which meander in unexpected directions. Piano and acoustic guitar play against each other before joining together to form a strong basis for the aforementioned choral arrangements, usually accompanied by a resounding tympani. An example of her balladry was the song "May It Be," featured in the first installment of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, "Fellowship of the Ring."

"Amarantine" should be well-received by Enya's fans; as with her earlier albums, this is music which can be felt, as well as heard. And with a few inroads in new directions, it may also herald a new and welcome musical journey for her.

Those unfamiliar with her music should fine "Amarantine" to be a pleasant introduction to Enya, as it is her most overall listenable effort to date.

Notes: Transcribed by Book of Days. Not a bad review, but how in hell can anyone say that Enya's voice is "unexceptional"!