Enya gently floats over a sea of grunge.

Group 170:

1.) Very best Of Enya: Enya
2.) No Code: Pearl Jam
3.) Louder Now: Taking Back Sunday
4.) Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness: The Smashing Pumpkins

Druid Pop

Can you spot the odd one out here? It is of course the New Age floatiness of Enya featuring sweeping harmonies and conjouring images of Stonehenge and placid lakes.
Stretching my mind back, I was initially finding it hard to recall any Enya tracks other than the wonderful Orinoco Flow (which opens this collection). But there is penty of familiar work here beyond just that 1987 number 1 single in the shape of Book Of Days, Trains and Winter Rains and Caribbean Blue.

Sail Away

Orinoco Flow is a track which sums up Enya in many ways, it is traditional sounding but not necessarily in an Irish way like her brethren Clannad. This collection features lots of vocal harmonies and the odd hark to paganistic style chanting but nevertheless succeeds in generating a beautifully structured and slightly ethereal soundscape. If I was being overally critical I might say that it is a bit lifeless in places, but even so, this is a wonderful collection to top this group. Booknote: Apparently Enya has never toured, but then if you’ve sold 70 million records and counting you possibly don’t need to!

Take *Them* Back Sunday.

Taking Back Sunday and The Smashing Pumpkins both featured on the rather lacklustre 2007 Transformers soundtrack reviewed in group 95.
What’s It Feel Like To Be a Ghost being one of the better tracks on said soundtrack. On Louder Now, Taking Back Sunday (stupid name btw) start with the fairly decent Pop Rock of the aforementinoed What’s It Feel Like To be Ghost? but quickly descend into substandard bland, unoriginal ‘wannabe’ rock. Very Panic At The Disco in places with a smattering of MCR.

Yep, Louder Now is fairly poor throughout, not helped by some choruses sounding extremely similar to one another (Miami, Error: Operator). On the whole this is a soul-sappingly bland experience, so bland in fact it’s bordering on the provocative.

Mediocracy & The Infinite Dirgeness

Taking Back Sunday’s insipid offering is *almost* enough to make me physically angry but they pale in comparison to the tsunami of dirge and nasal vocals let loose by The Smashing Pumpkins on their double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Make no mistake this 1995 effort is the most comprehensive marathon of mediocracy ever assembled onto a single body of work.

Zero Quality

The one and only redeeming feature has to be that groovy rythm on Zero – man that is a fuckin groovy riff ! Shame that it sits amongst all this bland dirge, they should have dropped the rest of this album and just played Zero for 2 hours instead! You know that drop D tuning trick employed by so many grunge bands? From now on it shall be referred to as the ‘Dirge Chord’. Pathetic.

Jamming

Pearl Jam on the other hand have created something quite interesting here. Once Hail Hail kicks in you expect an onslaught of hard edged rock but No Code is suprisingly

Eddie Vedder

spiritual in places for a supposed grunge band. The majority of this album is fairly slow-paced and experimental. I really like the harmonic-led Smile, the walking pace storytelling of Off He Goes and doesn’t Eddie Vedder sound a lot like David Gates on Around The Bend? A very likeable album full of nicely arranged music and excellent performances, well produced to boot. An easy 2nd.

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