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It's been five years since Enya last emerged from the studio with a new album -- a huge span in the realm of pop culture, but a mere blip in the seemingly changeless sonic universe ruled by the Irish singer. In some ways, Amaratine picks up the thread Enya left dangling with A Day Without Rain -- the misty perspectives, the cocooning vocal layers -- but she does expand the palette. For one thing, she's moved away from singing in her native Gaelic, largely concentrating on English-language material but also roving into Japanese (on the breathless "Sumiregusa") and an invented tongue she's dubbed Loxian. The three songs in the latter language -- which longtime lyricist Rona Ryan adapted from Tolkien's Elvish dialect -- are perhaps the disc's most hypnotic, in part because listeners are left with little choice but to drift along and accept Enya's vocal lines as just another instrument (albeit a gorgeous one). She makes the most of that venture on the appropriately titled "Drifting," which builds to peaks suited to a Gothic cathedral, but most intriguing is the album's overall restraint, which is particularly palpable on folk-like songs such as "It's in the Rain," a brisk tune that's reminiscent of Enya's work with Clannad all those years ago. Then again, this is Enya's world, where time melts away with the merest breath -- a source of delight, no doubt, to its many visitors.
|Label:||Reprise / Wea|