(02 December 2006) The long-awaited followup to Time Passengers, Freud's newest album, The Journey (Sony BMG (Mexico) 86970 19012, 2006), is a truly amazing and mesmerizing collection of songs that takes your breath away. Lead female Dublin-based vocalist, Cora O'Donovan, thoroughly captures the listener with her stunning and enchanting vocals. The material features her talent on vocals and bodhran, Ingo Hauss on keyboards, grand piano, guitars and programming and introduces Maria Sanchez on additional vocals (more photos). A wide variety of international session musicians have contributed an extensive range of instrumental accompaniment to the album. This album has vocally-laced melodies, reminiscent of Enya's distinctive sound.
Freud has had one formal release and some tasters that have all displayed their incredible blending of music and voice. Time Passengers (1998) was their brilliant (review) debut album, and Cora contributed to Spirit of the Sun (2001) by Elysia (review). Also in 2001, an unreleased Freud album called The Great Crossing (review) was circulated to the music media exclusively as a preview. Several of the songs on that CD now appear in finished form on The Journey.
Their stunning and uplifting sound blends instrumentals with enchanting vocalise. Freud achieves a delicate balance with the soothing and melodic rhythms in their Celtic/ambient/dance based soundscapes. The ethereal compositions beckon the listener into a magical realm.
The lovely, lush New Age sounds of "Deja Vu" set the mood for the captivating tunes to follow. Cora's soaring vocals stand out and create a relaxing, peaceful atmosphere. Keyboards introduce "The River" and Maria Sanchez' tantalizing vocal interludes. Her breathy and airy quality adds to the stunning melody. The album is extremelywell produced and enjoys an extremely lush quality. The Celtic-flavored ballad "Eden" is a prime example of this sumptuous music. Cora's vocals are luxuriant and uplifting.
"Mystery Moon" has an almost dance/techno sound with choir-like vocal layers performed in a style similar to the musical group, Delerium. The short spoken elements also have a lavish and hypnotic aspect. Evocatively performed with vast mood swings and worldly atmospherics, various movements of "The Avebury Circle" elicit what must be Freud's interpretation of Druid worship to the listener's mind. There is mystical feel that lures you into the stone circle.
The electronic ethereal world-moodiness continues with "Garden of Love," sung again by Maria. Indeed her verdant vocals spellbind the listener. Dominated by layers of Cora's evocative vocals, "The Journey" is much more pop-oriented, but untraditionally so, a departure from Freud's norm--but it works, and works well. The song is further enhanced by the lovely French vocals by Domenique Horwitz. Cora's powerful lead vocals are supported by lovely and rich harmonies in the wordly standout track "Phantasmagoria." There is a sensual aura in Cora's whispered and alluring vocals in the verses.
Rich synthesizer passages form the musical foundation for the album's instrumental, "The Great Crossing." Strings and keyboards carry different elements of the melodies that comprise the piece with its soothing and melodic rhythms. "El Jardin Del Amor" again focusses on the mesmerizing quality of FREUD's music genius. The album finishes with the bonus track, "World of Wonders," from the amazing Time Passengers album.The highly accessible and almost pop-sounding track features powerful and lush layers of vocals that comprise yet another an Enya-style choir in this symphonic piece.
Arrangement and production are rich throughout this CD with equally influential treatment of the deepest bass and highest flute. Synthesizer is used to wonderful effect to lay a rich foundation for Cora and Maria's stunning vocals. Choral elements blend into the instrumentals in the non-lyrical passages.
Freud does not disappoint with their enchanting vocals and spellbinding charm. Cora O'Donovan and Maria Sanchez' magnificent voice combined with the ambient melodies raise the listener to a higher plane of sheer ecstasy. There is tremendous tenacity of sound emerging here with this marvellous group of talented musicians. The album is available on Tantajo Records in the EU and Sony BMG in the Americas. It is also available on iTunes from 11 December 2006. The sound is bliss and The Journey is definitely a voyage to be relished.--Audrey Elliot with Russ Elliot in New York