Brendan McCloud,
On the Edge Of Time
(Ancient Futures)

(Dream Time, 1999)

Brendan McCloud's debut CD, On the Edge Of Time (Ancient Futures), is a somewhat interesting mesh of what I can best describe as new age and '70s classic rock. The songs tend to be an amalgamation of Celtic overtones, soft rock and some sort of ethereal, digital experience. McCloud apparently played the various instruments himself and then mixed them together using the Cakewalk software application on his computer. And, in general, he did a decent job. I must admit that it took a little time for me to warm up to the way he electronically modulated his voice to consistently have an echo every time he sings. But in the end, I decided that this works with McCloud's overall design of bringing the past, present and future together in one setting.

The CD starts off in an Arthurian way with "Lady of the Lake" -- a pleasant tune to say the least. I'm sure that those of you familiar with Avalon will enjoy it as much as I do. "Song for Leonardo" is a little slower in tempo, but every bit as good. "Blues for Meriwether Lewis" is almost ballad-like. For some reason I can picture Phil Collins singing "Love Overdrive." I can't put my finger on exactly why this is, but the resemblance is almost uncanny!

My favorite song is "White Heat." There is a little hook in the background that just kind of grabs you. I also like the guitar playing. I wish I had McCloud's talent.

I need to mention his instrumentals as they are some of the better tracks on the CD. "Lands' End" is a Celtic instrumental. The liner notes show another tune called "Brendan's Voyage" which isn't listed on the back of the CD. This instrumental bridges a gap between "Lands' End" and "Imbolc." I'm not sure how to characterize "Imbolc," much less pronounce it. However, it again showcases Brendan's talent at creating instrumentals. These three are all light, airy pieces which are enjoyable to listen to.

While much of the CD is quite good, McCloud stumbles in one spot. No, it is more like he falls ... on his face. The song "21st Century Love" is terrible. To begin with, it completely breaks the flow of the music. Each song transitions neatly into the next until you get to track 6, where you are suddenly assaulted by a monotonous drum machine beat and stupid lyrics. As much as I like the rest of McCloud's work, I truly dislike this piece. Fortunately, since most CD players come with a forward button, this song does not have to ruin your musical experience.

For a visual experience, McCloud's website has an interesting way of presenting his music with various pictures which describe the theme of each song.

[ by Wil Owen ]

Buy On the Edge Of Time from

Visit Brendan McCloud's website.