Enya has returned after two years away and with her she has brought a wonderfully winter album just in time for Christmas. Her ethereal tones and exquisite song writing ability combined with her fusions of classical and Irish influences have always made her a guilty pleasure of mine.

The album itself is typically Enya and is not going to disappoint any existing fan, as she overdubs her voice so that it sounds like a virtual choir and the sounds fit perfectly with her views of the emotional winter season ahead.

As the album kicks off with And Winter Came… you remember just how much you love Enya’s tranquil sounds before she has even begun to sing. But when we do get some vocals out of her on Journey of the Angels it’s just so relaxing and enjoyable as Enya doesn’t bother with the loud drums and guitars we are so sick of seeing in music today, but just lets her incredible voice dictate the music on this tranquil song.

After the calm of And Winter Came… we move onto the Christmas-Sounding White is in the Winter Night, the second track to be released from this album and which could be a serious contender for the Christmas Number One spot given the right backing. Watch out you pesky X Factor finalists, Enya knocks spots off that bizarre Diana Vickers!

The haunting O come, O come, Emmanuel is a translation of the Christian Latin text (“Veni, veni, Emmanuel”) by John Mason Neale in the mid-19th century and is an absolute joy to listen to.

Trains and Winter Rains was the first song to be taken from the album and is my favourite so far. Despite the fairly ’normal’ verses, the chorus bring us a lovely upbeat (well as upbeat as Enya can get) more upbeat than the rest and she’s possibly the only woman who can singe the same line three times and call it a chorus. Classic.

Dreams are More Precious has hint of China Roses from 1995’s The Memory Of Trees, and would be great playing out as I lay in the bath with a glass of red wine and loads of little candles flickering. For once I feel proud to name her as one of my favourite singers.

Last Time by Moonlight isn’t really anything spectacular but One Toy Soldier is a perfect song for the winter period as they are a vintage Christmas present and I suppose the line; “Happy Christmas Day to you.” can only get you in the Christmas spirit and the beat of the song echoes that of a marching soldier perfectly.

Stars and Midnight Blue is another heartfelt song however, rather than dubbing her voice to sound like there are about 10 of her, this just plays up to her ‘single’ voice and

The Spirit of Christmas Past kind of gives away the Christmas theme to anyone who hasn’t picked up on it already and it’s a nice change to have a song for the festive season that isn’t just made up of cheesy pop stars in Santa hats dancing around like a bit of tinsel makes them lose all sense of good music.

My! My! Time Flies! shows off a different side of Enya’s voice which is quite difficult to explain without you actually hearing the song for yourself. I suppose you could describe this song as sounding a bit Oasis-ish or similar. I know it sounds strange when talking about Enya, but this is like a warped version of an Indie song and is a great contrast to the other songs on the record, as it even features an electric guitar. Wow.

As with most closing tracks on Enya’s back catalogue, Oíche Chiúin (Chorale) is a re-recording of the same song which was released in 1988 and it does a great job to calm you down after the excitement of My! My! Time Flies!

No surprise that she’s Ireland’s biggest export since U2 then!

Rating: 4/5 – Enya at her best, but it would have been nice to see more variation.
Skip To: My! My! Time Flies!- It shows a great new side to Enya.

FemaleFirst | November 24, 2008
Ruth Harrison