Five years since her last album and Enya produces a new one with all of thirty-seven minutes of fresh material. It isn’t exactly what you’d call an excess of productivity.

The delicate instrumental title track that opens A Day Without Rain promises much in that it’s lead by a warm piano and features attractive widescreen strings. But what follows is immediately disappointing by comparison. ‘Wild Child’ is unimaginative and lightweight, and it’s followed by the merrily plinking ‘Only Time’ which has a catchy enough melody but little else to capture the imagination.

Things pick up from here. ‘Tempus Vernum’ is a more meatily symphonic affair, perfect soundtrack music with ominous vocals that add welcome moments of genuine emotion.

The waltzing ‘Flora’s Secret’ and ‘One By One’ both sound like singles in waiting, and ‘Lazy Days’ will immediately bring Paul Simon’s ‘Only Living Boy In New York’ to the mind of anyone of the proper vintage.

‘The First of Autumn’ has synthesised cellos sawing away to no great effect, while ‘Silver Inches’ comes on more like an unfinished song than an unfinished symphony. After millions of album sales Enya had an opportunity here to move on, to find new challenges, and to explore new territories. Instead, what we get is more of what we got before. For devoted fans, doubtless it’ll be enough. But for the rest of us, it’s a missed opportunity.

Rating: 7 / 12

Hot Press: 23 Nov 2000
Jackie Hayden