Various Artists

Celtic Woman [Manhattan]

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Manhattan Records' release of Celtic Woman is a compilation/collaboration between five unknown vocalists, introduced only by their first names (Chloë, Lisa, Órla, Méav, and Máiréad), who take turns chirping Irish ballads as heard through a dramatic, lush new age filter. Via reverb-heavy and thick keyboard atmospherics, the singers cover contemporary ground, such as Enya's "Orinoco Flow," to traditional melodies like "Danny Boy" and "Ave Maria." While each vocalist brings a separate lovely timbre to the table, each song shares a similar theatrical arrangement and plodding tempo that smoothes over any subtleties that might distinguish track from track, therefore fitting well sonically side by side, but leaving the listener yearning for a bit more dynamic. Overall Celtic Woman is a decent set of well-performed vocal pop, but ultimately more a soothing background soundtrack than anything memorable. ~ Gregory McIntosh, Rovi