Album Reviews of the 80s

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Clannad, "Macalla" / 1986 Review by: Mr. Media
Clannad are a seemingly contradictory group. The second-most important Irish folk band in the history of rock end up becoming one of the major influences on New Age. They were avowedly acoustic, but on this record, ditched the acoustics for electric guitars and synthesizers. Enya left the group in disgust because of their pop sound, yet by the early 90's they were more New Age than she was. This is the record where Clannad found its identity at the crossroads of rock and world music. Matching Gregorian harmonies with bittersweet lyrics clenches it for this group. Every song has the superficial feeling of sadness, but second and third listenings reveal a deeper joy and sentimentality about the subjects. More than that Clannad show that they can blend styles well by getting a helping hand from Bono, who gives his best vocal performance on "In a Lifetime" which easily diminishes his work from U2. The best description of Clannad's sound needs to go to Bono himself. In a recent interview with ITE he said,"When I first heard them [singing "Harry's Game"], I nearly drove off the road. I said, 'What is this?' It was like listening to God and all his saints. " (If you enjoyed the sound of this record, I would also recommend Clannad's other two strongest records to date: Landmarks, and Magical ring.)

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