Album Cover: Shepherd Moons


Shepherd Moons

Robert L. Doerschuk

Keyboard (USA) February 1992

The most striking thing about Enya's third solo album is how closely it resembles the previous two. We hear the same dreamy textures - the celestial harps, the muffled cathedral bells, the cold gleams of sampled grands warmed by deep velvet washes, the gentle plunking arpeggios behind angelic sampled "ahs." The chord voicings and resolutions are also familiar. She even closes the album with a haunting Gaelic tune, sung with the same filigree over the same kind of distant pads and punctuated by the same sort of Uillean pipe solo that marked the last cut on her second album. For some artists, this lack of development could raise cause for concern, but in this case the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" axiom applies. Structural simplicity and complex shifting timbres animate all of Enya's work; too much jostling on either end of the formula would only shatter their fragile balance. Though some of the elements don't blend as sensitively as they could - the 'Orinoco Flow'-ish vocal samples on 'Afer Ventus' are a bit too hiccuppy - the balance is preserved on Shepherd Moons. Enya's skill at dressing the spirits of Irish balladry in the raiments of studio technology remains unmatched.

Note: Transcribed by Johannes Karhula .