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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Moya Brennan's Signature is worth all the polycarbonate it's written on

Compiling gig reviews is relatively straightforward because it’s a descriptive snapshot of a moment in time. Throw in a few nice words about the performer(s), the effect on the audience, maybe tag on a setlist and you’ve cracked it. However,an album review is a different kettle of fish.

You should therefore appreciate that it’s going to take a very special album to make me wax lyrical about its merits. Ladies & Gentlemen, I now present to you my views on the best album that I’ve heard in years, Moya Brennan’s Signature.

Signature was produced by Moya Brennan and mixed by guitarist/pianist/backing vocalist, Fionan De Barra. It was released on the BEO record label, October 2006. The album contains 12 quality tracks which takes little effort from the listener to get totally immersed in.

A quick feather of the cymbals, then we’re dropped into a rolling Purple Haze. From a lyrical aspect there are no more than half a dozen phrases. Musically, it’s lethal. Rolling piano, wild Uillean pipes and Moya’s pure vocals will beat the aural recipient into submission. By the time Merry Go Round , track 3, comes around the listener’s grip on reality has become totally loosened.

Study the quality of the weaving of voice and violin in Tapestry, track 5. Dream your way through Black Night, track 6, and sink to your knees to Hear My Prayer, track 7.
Maire Breatnach’s name appears in the sleeve notes of this album. Although this virtuoso of the violin is not associated with any given track, I suspect that she might have joined in on this particular song at least.
Many Faces, track 9, has the backing music from the League of Nations. It has an Egyptian sand-dancer’s beat, the odd plink of the harp takes you to Latin America, while the Uillean pipes could well be charming snakes in the depths of India. The penultimate song, Gone Are The Days, track 11, allows you to reflect on your carefree days of youth before closing with the beautiful simplicity of a ‘trad. arr.’ , entitled Pill A Run O.

Getting tired of listening to this album is not an option. It’s just impossible to put down. Even if you attempt to do so, then please take extreme care when listening upon return. It has the cheek to sound even better. Signature not only takes over your life, it gnaws away at your soul.

To those who may still have second thoughts about accompanying this CD on the journey from the display shelf to the checkout till, then rest assured that the seal of quality is Moya Brennan, the voice of Clannad. This album doesn’t need the help of self-centred radio stations to push sales. In fact, they might have to air this album to attract the listeners.

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