14 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the time that’s passed since 2007’s Christmas-themed And Winter Came, Enya’s influence has made itself heard in a new generation of female artists—from Julia Holter’s classically informed art-pop to the hallucinogenic melodies of Grimes. On Dark Sky Island, the new age icon returns with a set of lush, synth-lined reveries as melodic and mesmeric as anything she’s recorded since her strangely ubiquitous 1988 debut, Watermark. While its gorgeous title track is layered with her singular brand of yawning vocal harmonies and gossamer strings, “The Loxian Gate” is an anthem sung in Loxian—a fictional language invented just for her.  

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the time that’s passed since 2007’s Christmas-themed And Winter Came, Enya’s influence has made itself heard in a new generation of female artists—from Julia Holter’s classically informed art-pop to the hallucinogenic melodies of Grimes. On Dark Sky Island, the new age icon returns with a set of lush, synth-lined reveries as melodic and mesmeric as anything she’s recorded since her strangely ubiquitous 1988 debut, Watermark. While its gorgeous title track is layered with her singular brand of yawning vocal harmonies and gossamer strings, “The Loxian Gate” is an anthem sung in Loxian—a fictional language invented just for her.  

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
477 Ratings
477 Ratings
JMPrater ,

In Defense of Enya’s New Single, 'Echoes In Rain.'

In Defense of Enya’s New Single, 'Echoes In Rain.'

Like so many people, (and like a crazy person) I woke up at 3:23 am this morning to listen to Enya’s latest single, Echoes In Rain, broadcasting from the UK. After 7 years, in complete silence, I was ready. When the song began, it was almost like shock took over. I didn’t know what to think of anything. I listened, checked around Facebook and Enya’s official forum, Unity to see what people were saying. Not much. It was early still.

I woke up again later and listened to the song via Enya’s official YouTube channel. Still, no reaction. I wasn’t sure if I was insanely tired, or if it was the fault of the music. I was however being messaged through Facebook of my reaction to the track. I didn’t know. I didn’t know how to feel. The only thing I was sure of, I had to listen to this new song over my regular and amazing speakers. Eventually, I was able to. I liked it. I didn’t love it. I liked it.

During this time I am getting into heavier conversation with longtime friends, and fellow Enya fans. I’m being asked again, what are my thoughts. I say ‘I like it’ taking great care not to use the term ‘love.’ I didn’t love it, not yet. I had an appointment later in the day, and I set up the song on my phone to play through my incredible car speakers. The moment it began, I started falling in love. Never before had I heard Enya’s vocals so clearly. There are many elements of the track that are familiar, and at the very same time, everything sounded new.

Echoes In Rain is a response to Orinoco Flow. It's a song that marks the end of a journey, as Orinoco Flow marks the beginning. It’s a full circle track, with elements and ideas we’ve heard in songs past. I listened to Echoes In Rain about 6 times, turned up as loudly as I could take it. By the time I arrived home from my appointment, I was fully in love with this sound.

There are criticisms about the track, that it’s the same old Enya, nothing new. I completely disagree. I have never heard this Enya before. I’ve never listened to such clarity of melody, such pristine multi-vocals. Echoes In Rain needs a patient listener. I am not one to fall in love with something because everyone else has. I’m a slow burn.

Echoes In Rain deserves a good listen, as many times as possible. While perhaps loud drums would have serviced portions of the song to more dynamic effect, Echoes In Rain is a singularity, a triumph of sonic wonder, a conjured spell that only Enya can create.

Before I leave you…I must turn attention to the lyrics. If there’s anything that stands out as ‘something new’ it’s Roma Ryan’s (Enya’s lyricist) words. Instead of the usual ‘stars, chimes, moons, and midnights’ Roma has chosen from a new group which have been invigorated by Enya’s simple, yet lofty melody, and Nicky Ryan’s perfect arrangement.

JM Prater

Diachenko ,

Finally!

7 years is too long to have to wait for a new Enya album, but it's finally here next month! Can't wait to hear the entire thing. I'm loving the single.

Sleepthief ,

On equal footing with WATERMARK

I have been a fan of Enya since the release of her very first album (self-titled ENYA and later renamed THE CELTS). I have always considered her to be one of the best female singers of our time and certainly she is one of the few popular artists in the last century that has created an entirely unqiue sound and a genre all her own. Enya's music has deeply influenced my own songwriting and apparently many other singers and artists. She is one of the few artists that I actually get sort of geeky and fan-boy about. Having said that, I think that Enya's turn toward a neo-classical sound as first evidenced on the album "A Day Without Rain" was a little less appealing. Not that Enya's ever written a "bad" song--but I preferred her more world/Celtic vibe than the marcato and pizz string plucking that took over her sound on ADWR. "Amarantine" was a a great album and showed somewhat of a return to her more "tribal" vibe. "And Winter Came..." was also beautiful (if seasonally-based). However, I think that "Dark Sky Island" represents some of her strongest material (both musically and vocally) in quite a while. While Enya has retained her core sound (intensely layered vocals and familiar instrumentation and tempos), there are some welcome surprises that show Enya has matured as a writer and singer. For example, THE HUMMING recalls BOADICEA with a dark-tone and mysterious quality. I love the use of the men's choir at the beggining of I COULD NEVER SAY GOODBYE (which, by the way, is pretty heart-rending and genuinely packed with emotion).The title track, DARK SKY ISLAND is impressive in that Enya sings a vocalise in a very low register that we've never heard before. SANCTE MARIA is fabulous--and may be my favorite track on the albun. It is reminiscent of Vangelis' 1492 soundtrack. Incredible vocal textures and the mood it creates is soaring--plus Enya sings in a register that almost sounds like a boys' choir. THE LOXIAN GATES is another standout, recalling EBUDAE (from Shepherd Moons) with huge drums and chanting. I would definitely recommend the deluxe version of this album because the 3 bonus tracks are superb. In fact, PALE GRASS BLUE (a song about the Asian butterfly of the same name) is a close contender for best track--it has beautiful syncopated vocal phrasings and a whimiscal and charming quality. For fans of ADWR, there is ASTRA ET LUNA which sound quite a bit like WILD CHILD. In sum, the 7 year hiatus obviously agreed with Enya. She once again proves why she is in a class uniquely her own. Fans should really appreciate all of the work (1000s of vocals and harmonies) that went into the making of this album. Big props to Nicky Ryan (producer) and Roman Ryan (lyricist) for their work as well.

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