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Clannad - Legend CD (album) cover

LEGEND

Clannad

 

Prog Folk

3.11 | 9 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars The massive hit "Theme from Harry's Game" from CLANNAD's 1983 UK Gold album "Magica; Ring", proved to be a multi-edged sword. On the one hand, it virtually assured the band of the long career that they have enjoyed. On the other hand, it formed the basis for ENYA's career as a sort of new age banshee, and, in response to her massive success, for CLANNAD's dozens of failed attempts at duplicating the original magic. It seems only ENYA is able to conjure such alchemy, at least commercially speaking. Finally, it launched Clannad's moonlighting gig as atmospheric soundtrack gurus. the first fruit of which adorned the BBC "Robin of Sherwood" series and was entitled "Legend".

Unlike many soundtracks, this one has vocals, although in quite a few tracks the lyrics consist of the title repeated many times over. The predominating instruments are rather dated synthesizers that simply have nowhere to hide, and they mar the otherwise promising opening cut and "Scarlet Inside", while working somewhat better on the sinister "Herne'. They also play a more floating role which naturally stands up better to the rigors of time.

The themes are often simply enchanting. but even when they are, apparently they would have violated an unwritten primer of soundtrack production ABCs if they had been allowed to develop at all. So "Together We" keeps hinting at a supreme getaway in between sublime whistle bursts, but never quite graduates.

The highlights are the tracks that are most like Clannad songs, those being "Stranger in a Strange Land", with exquisite harmonies and a sweet less simplistic melody; the harp fronted instrumental "Lady Marian", and the more rocking "Ancient Forest" that is reminiscent of 1970s prog like HORSLIPS, STRAWBS, or RENAISSANCE, or some Celtified combination thereof.

As soundtracks go, this one is above average just because about half the tracks stand on their own, and most of the rest manufacture enough atmosphere to be of some interest from a minimalist perspective. Its big flaw is its very 1980s sound, but that's hardly surprising. Apart from its subject matter, "Legend" is not an album that lives up to its lofty name, but it's still worth a listen if you are a fan of ambient folk soundscapes or CLANNAD, especially both at once.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |

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