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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic story of love, life and death,
This review is from: Moonchild (Audio CD)The Irish folk-rock album would best be described as atmospheric to the point of being moody and at times ethereal. Lush harmonies send the listener into a vast expanse of mountains and plains, the beginning of what will turn out to be an epic journey...a story of love, life and loss from the minds of John and Pat McManus.
The album begins with the most accessible track on the album, 'Strange day in the country' which starts with a minute of atmospheric wind and rain effects before John's harmonised voice softly begins; 'Kingdom of souls of the wild and distant rolling hills',,,and at this point, you know you're in for something special. The second track is the title track 'Moonchild', a sad and lonely affair. The low whistle is the key instrument to this tale of somebody trying to make something of their life. 'Come the day when all this hate will rust and fade away' and 'Ride on Moonchild, far far away' add souch emotional beauty to this most epic of songs. This is easily the most breathtaking song on the album but it has to be heard live, like most of Celtus' songs to realize just how beautiful it is. 'Every step of the way' is another 'would-be' radio-friendly tune being the most pop styled song on the album. With a rip-saw bassline running through it and sing-alongable chorus this would have been a 'single' contender had any been released off this record. The only slight downside to this is that it lacks the atmosphere that is so prevalent in the other tracks but this, if you like, is a few moments of rest on this journey. 'Some kind of wonder' picks back up where 'Moonchild' left off, keeping you inspired by its varied beauty. You may have noticed that the word 'beauty' crops up a lot in this review but it is the best description of this wonderfully-crafted album. Some kind of wonder finishes with the instruments building up into a crescendo, then stopping before a long guitar sweeps gently back in. Simple, but amazingly emotive.
The saddest song on the album comes along with 'Brother's Lament', a traditional instrumental tribute written by John on his low whistle for their brother Tommy who died of leukaemia not long before. Very touching yet not depressing...uplifting in fact. Lifting the mood of the album comes 'Beyond the dark', about a love that shines beyond darkness; 'And nothing you can say will change a single thing. when words are not enough to explain.' This track, as with 'Every step of the way' lifts the albums mood preparing you for track seven which reveals the album's darkest moments, 'Love turns to dust'. The fact that this is probably the best song that's been written over the last ten years or so never mind just on the album will do little to express to you how good this song really is. It's about a relationship that's on the rocks and one partner is very insular whilst the other can't understand what's happened. 'Is there still a way for you and me? There must be a chance before love turns to dust.' However, it isn't the desperation of the lyrics that makes this song a cut above the rest, it's the musical arrangement. From beginning to end there is this wall of darkness created with a quiet yet slightly disturbing echoing drum beat that seems miles away...like war noises whilst the low whistle rises and falls besides Pat's guitar picks leading ultimately to an amazing lead solo that captures the desperation so obvious in this song. Truely outstanding. 'Rosa-Ree' is the story of the town where the two brothers grew up. 'I made my way back to the hometown, it looked just the same.' before emerging into the playground nursery-rhyme/nostalgia inspired chorus; 'When we played ring-a-ring-a-rosa-ree'. This song reveals the closeness and community of the town they grew up in. An obvious inspiration for their wonderfully friendly personalities and music. The alarmingly similar tubular bells intro and wishy-washy effects make 'The Pilgrim' the most ethereal song on the record. 'A new day dawns for the pilgrim'. This is a slightly more pop styled song again, with the emphasis on a good bass line and guitars. 'Trikuti' is the second instrumental on the album and although no where near as effective as 'Brother's Lament' is still a nice song. Beginning in a similar vein to track five but then turning into a slow paced melodic affair. This is the least outstanding track on the album but all is forgiven as the final track, 'We two are one' is introduced by a meloncholic piano which makes way for a big-beat epic finale. 'Side by side like a rose and thorn we entwine' sings John McManus as melodies keep his voice afloat. A truely monumental end to a truely monumental album. Epic may be clieche but here it is well and truely deserved.
At 56minutes and 33seconds this album oozes epic proportions and leaves the listener with the will to begin the journey all over again and again. This is the album's greatest strength and you will find that this album will grow and grow on you until you're hopelessly addicted.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a melancholy tokkai,
This review is from: Moonchild (Audio CD)For anyone who has never drunk Tokkai, go and find a bottle and sip, whilst you then listen to this album preferably as the sun sets to make a tranquil exit from the day. I was prompted to write after hearing Bob Harris play moonchild this week (april 5th 2008). I saw Celtus back in 1998 I think it was and had never heard of them before. They were supporting Paul Crrack on his UK tour and i was immediatley impressed by the enchanting sound they made. Yes there are Clannad influences on the album but also glimpses of more traditional leanings towards the Bothy Band and Altan. The musicianshop is superb and the first two tracks are particularly mellifluous
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime....,
This review is from: Moonchild (MP3 Download)In a few words ...If you like Celtus or similar you will be in no way disappointed at this purchase.....
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparisons are inevitable, but...,
This review is from: Moonchild (Audio CD)...they're slightly missing the point.
Take a couple of heavy rock specialists (John and Pat McManus of Mama's Boys fame) and give them some studio time, and what do you expect to get out of it? Well, probably not something that would sit proudly alongside the likes of Clannad and Iona, among others!
But that's what this is; ethereal, evocative, beautiful... a very Celtic album, full of Irish wonder.
It is NOT, however, a cheap rip-off of its illustrious near-neighbours. Rather, it is a perfect partner, comparable with them, but unique in itself.
John contributes lead vocals, low whistle and uilleann pipes, while Pat brings guitars (electric and acoustic), bazouki and violin to the mix. Keyboards, bass and drums round out the musicianship on offer.
The album is dedicated to their brother Tommy, drummer with Mama's Boys, who sadly passed away after a long illness, and includes an instrumental, "Brother's Lament", but while it's certainly reflective, it isn't maudlin. And it shows the boys are far from one trick ponies! Celtus are clearly not only genre-crossing musical savants, but also very much in touch with their roots.
I'm glad I've finally discovered Celtus. There are plenty of highlights and no disappointments on this album. I'm looking forward to hearing the rest, but this is a hard act to follow.
If you're a Clannad fan, this should be in your collection. If you're a Mama's Boys fan, treat yourself to something different. And if you don't enjoy this album, go and see a doctor, because there's clearly something wrong with your ears!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant CD,
This review is from: Moonchild (Remastered + Bonus Tracks) (Audio CD)The Irish trio Celtus sounded like a cross between Clannad and The Moody Blues; "Moonchild" was their great CD from 1996, and it's good to have it in remastered and expanded form.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moonchild...A cd that captures all moods and emotions,
This review is from: Moonchild (Audio CD)The way John McManus plays the flute is breath taking, Celtus have put body and soul into the tracks on this Album, with a style that is unique to Celtus...A Joy to listen to over and over again!.....buy this and you wont be disapointed!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great album - not as good as Portrait,
By A Customer
This review is from: Moonchild (Audio CD)I saw Celtus fronting Jimmy Nail in London in November 1999 and they were amazing. This album is more "dreamy" than Portrait and reminds me somewhat of Clannad's less rocky stuff. However, I think anyone who likes the Portrait album should also listen to this one - it's very good and Celtus are very talented. They may go far....
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