While Enya has always taken her time to ensure every album is beyond satisfactory in the past, Dark Sky Island marks the end of her longest absence to date. With her last new release being And Winter Came in 2008, the following seven years have been spent wondering where she would go next, and when we would find out. Unsurprisingly, Dark Sky Island treads very familiar territory, yet also stands as a collection of songs that may well be her strongest in years.
Dark Sky Island is full of iconic productions that solidify it as an Enya album: Her trademark wall of vocals is prominent throughout the album, as is the ambiance and new age style fans will be familiar with. The Celtic influences aren’t as prominent here, mostly appearing on the closing track Remember Your Smile, instead keeping the focus on an atmosphere very similar to the lead single Echoes In Rain; while this is one of the most direct songs on the album, with Enya’s vocals existing in the foreground and the harmonies kept to a minimum, it’s an unequivocal Enya song in style and theme.
Further tying Dark Sky Island to Enya’s past is the inclusion of her lyricist Roma Ryan’s Loxian language: Originally created for Enya’s 2005 album Amarantine, it once again appears in The Forge of the Angels and The Loxian Gate. The otherworldly effect the lyrics have when combined with the ambient and calm nature of The Loxian Gate in particular create the most memorable moment on the album; one that sticks with you longer than anything else on the album. Astra Et Luna is particularly powerful as well, with its arrangement flowing between simple piano-centric moments and grandiose walls of vocals and strings, working with its Latin lyrics to create a brilliant atmosphere for the track.
Even if the songs written in languages other than English are its most powerful moments, there’s not a single second of the album that stands out as less enjoyable than the one that came before it. This stands out as her most enjoyable album in recent years; not her strongest to date, but far and away the best to come from Enya since the 90s. Dark Sky Island is well worth a listen, and a shining example of what makes Enya as iconic as she is today.