I had high hopes for Dark Sky Island, Enya’s eight studio album. Having listened to it for months, I’m happy to say that the album does not disappoint in any way. On the contrary; Dark Sky Island is a worthy comeback. She has given her millions of fans another masterpiece to enjoy.
Seven years is a long time to wait for a new album. Today everything has to happen fast, and artists have to release something new in order to stay relevant. That goes for icons such as Enya as well.
Between 2008 and 2012 Enya took an extended break from music. Then she finally found her way back into the studio. Perhaps that’s why the topic for this album is a journey? There are many travel related references here.
The opening track, The Humming…, instantly sets the atmosphere. From the very first synth chords, piano leads and harp, Enya is in control. Her patented sound is intact. No other artist does voice layering better. Or in other words; digitally enhanced humming at its very best.
After the impressive into, we get a more quiet and thoughtful song. So I could find my way is a classical Enya melody, where the «you» can be interpreted either as God or as a person you love. Someone is always there to guide you on your way. The 4 minutes and 30 seconds are gone in an instant.
Even in the Shadows is yet another winner. The lyrics may seem dark, but the atmosphere is positive and uplifting;
I could fall and keep on falling
I could call and keep on calling
Wonder why this love is over
Wonder why it’s not forever
So high, so low
Love is gone and love is gone…
The gentle bass drum in this track creates a tension that makes me think of The Celts. It is very well done.
The Forge of Angels is, with its Loxian lyrics, like a Christmas song. Its larger-than-life atmosphere is breathtakingly beautiful. Enya does this better than any artist out there. If she is to release another Christmas compilation, this song will for sure be on it.
Echoes in Rain
Echoes in Rain, the album’s only single, is my favorite song on the album. The melody is wonderfully catchy, thanks to some amazing strings. The usual pluck effect is here too, adding a nice clocklike rhythm. The effect never gets old.
Now the album changes pace. It gets a little slower and more thoughtful. This last part, including the three bonus tracks, are arguably a bit weaker than the first. That said, I Could Never Say Goodbye, Dark Sky Island and Sancta Maria are three wonderful songs that in different ways show Enya’s talent. We must not forget to mention Nicky and Roma Ryan too, which always are vital to the end result.
The reception of Dark Sky Island by fans and reviewers has been very positive. It shows that Enya’s consistency is not a weakness. It might very well be one of her greatest qualities.
It remains to be seen if Enya will do a tour. If she does, she has a lot of new material to choose from (although we hope to hear some classics as well!).
All in all, Dark Sky Island is a marvelous comeback from our genre’s top performer – and easily the most important release of 2015.
Score: 97/100 – See how I rate music here.