Enya’s new record is partly inspired by Sark, the Channel Island that, with its exceptional night sky, became the world’s first “dark sky island” in 2011.
The album, however, also reveals a profound and expansive meditation on nature, and our relationship to it, reaching back to earlier work such as 1991’s Shepherd Moons.
The album opens with the moving The Humming, which explores a recurring motif and perhaps Enya’s most central image – the sea, its melody resembling the waves she sings of.
Her vocal power seems to increase as years go by; on So I Could Find My Way it manages to be both frail and strong.
The song Even in the Shadows retains a sense of urgency, with layers of vocal and electronics building up to something tremendous, and her touchstones of folk, church music and traditional Irish haunt subtly, illuminating the celestial Sancta Maria, and, indeed, the work as a whole. Nourishing and immersive.