Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CD Odyssey Disc 83: Clannad

OK, this falls into the category of "they can't all be winners, kid. Frankly, I just went on a CD shop and bought seven more albums (yeehaw) and I'm getting tempted to invoke rule #5. I am trying to hold out though, since I prefer to be random.

Disc 83 is...Banba

Artist: Clannad

Year of Release: 1993

How I Came To Know It: I was keen to check out Clannad after I heard they did the theme to "Robin of Sherwood", an old HBO series from the eighties which I really liked. This album was me trying their new album.

How It Stacks Up: Clannad made music for twenty five years, but I've only got three albums, and one of those is a best of. This one is a studio album, and the lesser of the two I have.

Rating: 2 stars - I haven't the heart to give this album a thumb, but at times I wanted to give it the finger.

Clannad is a folk band that is famous in their own right if you are into folk music, but outside of folk music they are known as "that band that Enya used to sometimes sing in".

"Banba" is not one of the albums Enya used to sing on. This album features the singing of Maire and Ciaran Brennan.

I really like Maire Brennan's voice. It is very breathy and soft, but never loses power. I even went out and bought Maire Brennan's solo album back in the day. Man, was I into Celtic folk music.

Anyway, apart from the voice, this album has a lot of flaws. It is way too milquetoast, with boring sleepy arrangements punctuated with annoying saxophone solos that sound like they belong back in the early eighties as some guy croons out "if you get caught between the moon and New York City." Or maybe while you watch Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd make annoying banter on "Moonlighting".

I guess what I am saying is that the saxophones intervention on this album is akin to someone mooning you.

Many of the lyrics are trite as well, like the song "The Other Side" which seems to advocate that everything will be OK if you write it down in your diary:

"When it's gone and you want it so badly
The game of love is a two way street
And from above there comes inspiration
Darkest clouds will disappear.

Take it down and put it in your diary
Come around to the pleasant side
Put it down to another experience
Come around to the other side."

That is just awful - and remembering how I used to find it uplifting fills me with the need to have a shower. I guess I came around to the other side, but over here, those lyrics really blow.

Apart from trying some "new Clannad" I also bought this album for the theme song for "Last of the Mohicans" which was a big movie back in the early nineties starring Daniel Day Lewis as Hawkeye in the adaptation of the famous novel by James Fennimore Cooper.

That movie was pretty good, but I prefer Lewis as Butcher Bill Cutting in Gangs of New York. I mean - if Hawkeye had a clear shot with his bow, sure - Cutting is dead 100 yards away, but if they get in close, I like the Butcher's chances. Also - the Butcher cheats. He'd just wait for Hawkeye to walk down some dark alley and stick a blade in his back. Unless they got along - after all, the Butcher has a thing for "us natives, born rightwise to this fair land" and Hawkeye would qualify.

I just don't think an honourable guy like Hawkeye could do the whole "I'm gonna pretend to like you so I can kill you at your birthday party" trick. And if he did, do you think Bill Cutting is gonna let some guy smuggle a bow into his heavily guarded Chinese restaurant? He didn't even fall for a thrown knife - he's certainly not gonna let Hawkeye go all yeoman on his ass.

Then again - Hawkeye could beat Bill Cutting at his own game by bringing some real Native Americans over for a full on battle for supremacy of NYC. Now that would be irony at its harshest five points!

But I digress.

Back to this album. It is pretty lame for the most part, but I really like the singing, and there are a couple of good tracks - mostly the Gaelic ones where you can't understand the lyrics (The Last of the Mohicans song also features some cool verses in Mohican and Cherokee).

I hope I roll something better next time. Will I sell this album? No - but only because I sometimes need something that sounds like it is sung by elves. Don't ask.

Best tracks: Na Laethe Bhi, I Will Find You (Theme from Last of the Mohicans), Caide Sin Do'n Te Sin.

1 comment:

Joel C said...

I have a strong feeling that this review is more entertaining than the album.

On the other hand, if your comment was added as a coda:

Remembering how I used to be uplifted
Fills me with the need to have a shower
Guess I came around to the other side
And over here, these lyrics really blow

that'd be about right