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Iona - 1995 Journey Into The Morn




ARTIST: Iona
ALBUM: Journey Into The Morn
LABEL: Alliance Music
SERIAL: ALD050
YEAR: 1995
CD REISSUE: 2006, Open Sky, OPENVP9CD

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Dave Bainbridge - guitars, keyboards * Joanne Hogg - vocals, accoustic guitar, vocal loops * Tim Harries - bass * Terl Bryant - drums, percussion * Mike Haughton - saxes, flutes * Troy Donockley - whistles, uilleann pipes, chimes, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Bi-Se I Mo Shuil - Part 1 * 02 irish Day * 03 Wisdom * 04 Everything Changes * 05 inside My Heart * 06 Encircling * 07 Journey Into The Morn * 08 Lindisfarne * 09 No Heart Beats * 10 The Search * 11 Divine Presence * 12 Heavens Bright Sun * 13 Bi-Se I Mo Shuil - Part 1 * 14 When I Survey

WEBLINKS: www.iona.uk.com


Background
Here are one of the UK's best kept secrets. Iona, a band which could comfortably sit in numerous musical categories, a band who are hard to describe at face value, but a band who are indelibly melodic and essential listening for those with a penchant for high class musicianship. Iona is primarily the vehicle for mainstay Dave Bainbridge, and though the band have been through many lineup changes, he has stayed throughout, as has vocalist Joanne Hogg, an exceptional singer in the same lilting class as Maire Brennan of Clannad. Part folk, part progressive, part melodic rock, and part Christian, they have it all. Their albums are a deep, and sometimes near spiritual experience with themes and lyrics focusing on celtic history throughout Ireland and Britain. Once you get into it, you become hooked. I am at least, and I've since become a big fan of their material. 'Journey Into The Morn' is a very polished album, and follows on from the lush experience that was the 'Beyond These Shores' album. Value for money is represented by 78 minutes worth of quality music, where the band combine contemporary musical styles with olde world themes and haunting atmospheric arrangements. The opening hymn 'Bi-Se I Mo Shuil (Be Thou My Vision)' is so atmospheric it could be off a soundtrack .. drifting effortlessly across the soundscape.


The Songs
The next three songs are wonderful modern sounding tracks: the splendid anthemic 'Irish Day' is guaranteed to get that celtic blood warmed up.. AORish even, not unlike 'Treasure' off 'Beyond These Shores' Beautiful stirring stuff. 'Wisdom' has a modern pop backbeat with a top 40 type sound, while 'Everything Changes' is full to the brim with dark moody keyboard layers and vocal minuettes, but is luscious nonetheless. 'Inside My Heart' has some predominant folk guitar passages before blazing into an electric guitar rush at the end .. brilliant. The 11.38 minute 'Encircling' is an exquisite piece of music with mesmerising vocals and a production really best spent under a set of headphones! 'Lindisfarne' is so atmospheric it borders on new-age territory, just listen to those gorgeous synthesizers in the background. Another commerical sounding track which shows they're not out of touch with mainstream pop/rock is the punchy 'No Heart Beats'. Elsewhere we get the 7.26 minute musical drama of 'Heaven's Bright Sun' while further on towards the end of the album we get an upbeat rockier version of 'Bi-Se I Mo Shuil (Be Thou My Vision)' played in a style where Jethro Tull meets Kansas in an Irish Pub. Can you imagine that? All right!!


In Summary
Perhaps a band not directly pitched at the AOR/melodic rock audience, but I'm sure that Iona have enough attributes to win over many new fans visiting this site. And again, for those into a serious musical listening experience with a hint of celtic history and thematics, you cannot go past this band. As I've said elsewhere in prior writings in some of our old site newsletters, the vocals of Joanne Hogg are worth the price of admission alone.. Iona come highly recommended.


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Comments

#1 | Eric on September 26 2012 17:41:20
I love this band and thier new double set released last year is fantastic. Highly recommended.

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