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The Edge of Silence

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Audio CD, February 12, 2002
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Darkness, Darkness 4:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Charmy Chaplin 5:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Prelude #1/Black Annis 6:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Who's In The What Now 3:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Dignity 5:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The Poisonjester's Mask 8:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Maybe In A Prayer 4:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Beck Street 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Clothes Of Sand 4:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Prelude #2/Georgia Lee 6:18$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 12, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Shanachie
  • ASIN: B00005UV9V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,867 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


The band Solas is based in the U.S., but the members are mostly Irish born and all are musicians of the first rank. The leader, Seamus Egan (flutes, tin whistles, uilleann pipes, guitars, etc.), won a bevy of Irish instrumental championships before he was out of his teens, and has since composed some notable film soundtracks, including The Brothers McMullen, which yielded the hit "I Will Remember You." Not surprisingly, Solas is one Celtic band that understands the meaning of a hook. This 2002 release is a mixed bag of jazzy floor-stompers, power-pop experiments, New Age exhalations, and ethereal ballads that make the most of Deirdre Scanlan's exquisite soprano. Winifred Horan's fiddling is especially evocative--dusky toned and effortlessly inventive--and the other players are also consistently on their game. However, their contributions are mitigated by intrusive synths and overdubs, which rise to the top of the mixes with crutchlike frequency. --Christina Roden

Customer Reviews

If you are a fan of Celtic music in the slightest, listen to Solas.
To begin, it is quite understandable that a fan devoted to Solas' initial "traditional" approach to music could be distraught about this album.
It's lyrical, moving, well balanced between instrumental and vocal pieces, and between fast and slow paced ones.
P. Marschall

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By small drakka on February 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
OK. Let's get something straight here--this album is not for everyone (notice the header). It's not even for everyone who loves Scots-Irish traditional music. Not that anything is.

For instance: If you want some pretty traditional purely accoustic music, this is not for you. Go seek Solas' earlier works--Sunny Days and Scattered Showers, for instance. Solas have for a while been undergoing a transition process and this appears to be the latest incarnation of that. It's not traditional by any stretch of the imagination. It attempts (and succeeds, i believe) to fulfill the promise made by so many bands over the years but so rarely kept - a mature union of rock and Scots-Irish traditional music. It borrows tunes from modern songwriters like Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and makes them sound very contemporary yet very much a part of the old tradition, like a new song turned into an old song masquerading as a new song. Think fiddles and accordians and electric guitars and synthesizers. Think Riverdance with PMS. Think Wolfstone.

Similarly, if you're really into upbeat music, i wouldn't look for it here. This album...well, it's not exactly "Black as the Night are my Roses", but it's certainly not cheery. The general mood is more like those days when you stand by the window, watching the twilight deepen and feeling inexplicably pensive. Black Annis touches on concerns about child abuse. Dignity and The Poison Jester's Mask feel like sharp commentaries on modern culture. Darkness, Darkness is an ode to oblivion. The instrumentals, while full of Solas' usual bounce and whirl, are almost entirely in minor keys.

If you have a deep appreciation for both rock and Scots-Irish traditional, however, you'll probably find something here to stir your soul.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "mr_fishscales" on October 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I tend to like bands that embellish the arrangements, add exotic instrumentation and generally mess with traditional forms, but Solas is headed in the wrong direction. Their arrangements recall the sentimental mush of Southern California country-rock of the late 1970s and and the wonderful bounce of Irish rhythm is replaced with leaden thudding that perhaps represents an effort to achieve solemnity. Their addition of bass and drums is boringly rock-based rather than referring to a more world-music sound. The use of a synthesizer is quite unimaginative, serving only as a short-cut to adding sonic bulk to the overall sound.
I don't have any problem with an ostensibly Celtic band covering pop tunes. The Bothy Band and Planxty were covering Bob Dylan in the 70s. Old Blind Dogs does a wonderfully haunting cover of Dylan's "Ballad of Hollis Brown" on the Legacy CD. Whirligig covers the B-52s credibly, for Pete's sake. But Solas's arrangement of Dylan's "Dignity" just lies there and the song seems to go on and on. I find their taste in singer-songwriters to be all over the place. Nick Drake ("Clothes of Sand") is, of course wonderful (albeit trendy now), but this Antje Duvekot ("Black Annis" and "Poisonjester's Mask") reminds me of Stevie Nicks and that is NOT a good thing (sorry Martha).
This is Win Horan and Seamus Egan's band, so I will hold them responsible for this drift toward adult contemporary dreck. Especially after hearing the new Win Horan solo CD. Good Celtic music has bite, drive, menace, and melancholy. The only thing that Solas has left is the melancholy and even that is more melodrama than truly moving.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful By wysewomon on March 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
In the past few years, Solas has gone from being one of my favourite Irish bands to being at the bottom of the heap, and this album is a poignant example of all the reasons why. Their first three albums featured great tunes and songs with stunning arrangements and virtuosity, both vocal and instrumental, that is seldom equalled. _The Edge of Silence_, however, offers none of those things. With its release, Solas has completed their transformation from sensational Irish band to mediocre pop group.
Now, I'm not one of those Celtic Music purists who has a spasm when a favourite group adds a drumkit or explores a different path. I really like the places that artists like Capercaille and Eileen Ivers have taken the music. So it's not just the fact that Solas has gone in a much different direction that bothers me. It's the fact that they didn't do it very well. When I listened to this album, I was bored.
Even on _The Hour Before the Dawn_ I didn't much like Dierdre Scanlan's vocals. Here they are even more limp and unappealing than they were there. I am not much of a fan of singer-songwriters either, and as every song was a cover of something in this genre they really didn't do anything for me. Seamus Egan's legendary instrumentals, where they even appear, are so over-produced and awash in studio effects that they are painful to listen to. A lot of Celtic bands who take the fusion path make the mistake of mixing their CDs like rock CDs, with the rhythm section drowning out the melody lines. I wouldn't have expected Solas to do this, but they did, and it was a real disservice to what might otherwise have been an interesting progression.
I can certainly understand a band's desire to do something different and not be chained to a previous sound, but it's a shocking disappointment to see so much talent wasted on a travesty like this. _The Edge of Silence_ is the kind of CD that makes you wonder what the band thought they were accomplishing. Skip it.
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