Enya remembers what works on 'Memory'
Chuck Campbell, News-Sentinel music critic
Knoxville News-Sentinel (USA) 19 January 1996
The Memory of Trees
Enya ( Reprise )
Although the Irish performer won't convert many new followers with The Memory of Trees, Enya's millions of fans will be fulfilled by her new effort.
Unless they want to be sedated, those who have found her past work too slow or remote needn't bother with The Memory of Trees: Enya sticks to her unusual formula of lush, synth-dominated arrangements buoyed by layers of overdubbed vocals -- the same approach she used successfully on 1988's Watermark and 1991's Shepherd Moons.
Within the context of her stately, one-woman New Age symphony (she plays all instruments and sings all vocals), Enya harnesses a variety of emotions, including the foreboding strains of "Pax Deorum," the serene introspection of "Athair Ar Neamh" and the airy etherealism of "China Roses."
Her strength lies in the sweeping caresses of textured music, but the occasional lighthearted whim blends personality into what otherwise could be a too-cold mix.
The sprightly single "Anywhere Is" is an example. Adding a sing-songy vocal cadence to the grandiose arrangement, Enya playfully explores her place in the world continuum with lines such as "The moon upon the ocean is swept around in motion/But without ever knowing the reason for its flowing...The moon still keeps on moving/The waves still keep on waving/And I still keep on going." (Roma Ryan pens Enya's Iyrics -- one of the few chores the performer relegates to others.)
The cosmic bubbling of "Tea-House Moon" is another cheerful break from the predominatly somber and quiet moods of the album.
Elsewhere Enya weighs in with heavier atmosphere and offers such matter-of-fact philosophy as "No one can promise a dream come true/Time gave both darkness and dreams to you" on "Once You Had Gold."
Despite the occasional downcast tone, however, The Memory of Trees is an expertly crafted, otherworldly joy.
Rating (five possible): FOUR STARS
Note: Transcribed by Edelmiro García.