Album Cover: Shepherd Moons

 

Enya's accessible album borrows from Celtic sound ravishing rebellion

Harry Sumrall

San Jose Mercury News (USA) 27 December 1991

"Shepherd Moons" 

(****) A season's greeting shot to everyone in pop: Thanks very much, you can all pack up your guitars and drums and head home now, because Enya has created the best record of the year.

"Shepherd Moons" is that rarest of pop records: it is, at once, accessible and iconoclastic; ravishing and, yes, rebellious.

At a time when the rest of pop is flailing about and falling back on various punk and funk and metal cliches, Enya is creating music that is endowed with a singular sense of vision and originality.

Songs such as "Angeles," "Afer Ventus" and the title cut are haunting collages of vocal sound medieval madrigals updated by 700 years of musical thought and technology. And ''Ebudae" reaches back in time to ancient Celtic melodic traditions that are countered by electronic rhythms that evoke images of druids cavorting about in a studio.

But the kindest cut of all is "Caribbean Blue," a song that is pop in the most modern sense, but with vocal harmonies and a theme line that bubble up from the spring of Irish folk.

Ballads predominate and there is an almost New Age Sleekness of sound. But in its sheer beauty and complexity, this record is making the case that rock as we know it is no longer necessary; that a wholly new form of pop can yet emerge that is provocative and stunning.



Note: Transcribed by Tomás Román.