Friday, September 4, 2009

Loreena McKennitt - An Ancient Muse

6/10

Loreena McKennitt's first studio album in nearly a decade is by far her most Middle Eastern-tinged effort, as should be obvious from the song titles ("Caravanserai," "The Gates of Istanbul," "Sacred Shabbat," "Beneath A Phrygian Sky"). Other than that, though, An Ancient Muse isn't that much different from the Loreena McKennitt albums before she took her hiatus. It sounds a bit rehashed at times, but it's mostly competent.
There are some parts that just don't work, though (hence the 6); Caravanserai has a boring opening that goes on for way too long, The Gates of Istanbul is marred by the fact that the rhythm section is playing the same beat used in every reggae song ever (a fact that's only slightly disguised by the folk instrumentation), and "The English Ladye and the Knight" has some lame-as-hell choral vocals. While it's nice that Loreena McKennitt is recording again, miscues such as these and the feeling that one has heard much of this material before make this a less than essential purchase.

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