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Clannad - 'Nádúr' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/9c/82/90/clannad-nadur-75-1392500080.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 15, 2014    
 
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Welcome back, Clannad; you have presented us with a wonderful gift of beautiful new music.

How many of you have (like me) been waiting and hoping for an album of new material from Celtic rock legends Clannad? Well, it's been some fifteen years since the band's previous studio album 'Landmarks', following which there have been various compilations and live recordings and most recently their 2011 live appearance at 'Christ Church Cathedral' issued on CD and separately on DVD (amazingly their only live DVD) earlier in 2013. Apparently, this intimate show was one of the inspirations behind the present release: a collection of thirteen all-new tracks, and featuring the original five members from the family plus a host of special guests.

Has the wait been worthwhile? Unequivocally, yes! Nádúr finds the band very much on top form and featuring a wide variety of tracks that envelope traditional Irish folk (the ballad 'Cití na gCumann' and the vocally superb 'Turas Dhómhsa Chon Na Galldachd' with alternating male and female lead vocals, those trademark Clannad harmonies and sparse accompaniment: with the surprising use of bagpipes bringing the song to a close, and is a huge favourite of mine!) along with those redolent of the style of 'Harry's Game' plus those closer to the more adventurous approaches found on 'Landmarks'. So, although the material is completely new it very effectively spans the sound and style of the band's previous repertoire.

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The more traditional approach is immediately exemplified on the atmospheric 'Vellum' with its wonderful keyboard washes and exquisite layered harmonies and Moya Brennan's engaging and instantly recognisable vocals. The jaunty 'Rhapsody Na gCrann' follows and is the first of several sung in Gaelic. 'Brave Enough' is another of the mid-tempo tracks and is a super example of the great melodic rock a la 'Harry's Game'. This is prime Fireworks fare with tremendous vocal arrangements, while the somehow very familiar sounding 'The Fishing Blues' is a fabulous song with great melodies that very successfully combines rock and more traditional Irish sounds.

The album's diversity of styles, yet sequenced perfectly, is then represented by the initially reflective 'Lámh Ar Lámh' with harp, whistles and bodhran predominant in the mix. 'A Song In Your Heart' again showcases the harp, and is a gentle ballad with those trademark lush Clannad harmonies. Piano is initially to the fore on the wonderfully lively 'A Quiet Town' and I'm sure there are some Spanish sections in there. This is one of the more stylistically adventurous songs – and successfully so. 'Hymn (To Her Love)' mixes English and Gaelic verse and includes some of Moya's most haunting vocals perfectly paired to a splendid mandolin solo.

Welcome back, Clannad; you have presented us with a wonderful gift of beautiful new music that should keep your fans very happy. I know that I am!

Paul Jerome Smith

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