Cover: The Memory of Trees

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Hot Sounds: The Memory of Trees

Jody Callahan

The Commercial Appeal (USA) 16 December 1995

In the most majestic scene in Martin Scorsese's lush "The Age of Innocence", Newland Archer steps onto a teeming street. Doomed to suffer an unrequited, soul-draining love for the Countess Olenska, Archer perches his fine top hat as a slow drizzle smears his overcoat.

In that one scene, Archer steps from the building - alone and inviolate - and merges with dozens of faceless men, all wearing black, until he's virtually obscured in a slow-motion puzzle.

The scene itself is stunning; what makes it majestic is the sublime sound of Marble Halls, an Enya masterpiece from Shepherd Moons that underscores the terminal melancholy of Scorsese's images.

If you've revered in that scene, rewound it time and again with the lights turned down and the sound turned up, you understand the blissful power Enya wields.

That power is again evident on the Irish recluse's The Memory of Trees, her recently released fourth album and the first new material since 1 991's "Moons."

Sonorous melodies, glowing with strings, piano and crashing percussion. Luxurious vocals that've sometimes been layered a hundred times to create a rich sonic blanket, comfortable and thick. The dying sounds of Gaelic, a language Enya grew up speaking in her native Ireland.

And that combination of sounds is perfect for so many things. Relaxing with a glass of wine. Studying for finals. Intense conversation with a good friend. Falling asleep in a rainstorm. Waking up before the sun rises.

Perhaps the only drawback to the new record is that it's highly reminiscent of "Moons," especially in the first single "Anywhere Is", an easily identifiable song much like "Caribbean Blue" or even "Orinoco Flow" off Watermark, Enya's breakthrough second record.

But really, who cares? In its essence, ''Trees'' is another Enya record, with all the myth and warmth that implies.

Note: Transcribed by Tomás Román.

Hot Sounds seems to be the music review section of The Commercial Appeal