Picks and Pans Review: Inarticulate Speech of the Heart

updated 05/16/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/16/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Van Morrison

In every album the Irish-born Morrison seems to ripen as an artistic descendant of both James Joyce and the Queen of the Leprechauns. Here he trades his penchant for rhythm-and-blues for rhythm-and-green; there's a distinct Celtic flavor to nearly all the 11 songs in this collection. It's a disappointment not to find the urgent, lusty rockers that have been Morrison's trademark since the '60s, but there's plenty to enjoy. Mostly these are dreamy songs that waft across the musical landscape like fog creeping across a bog. The instrumental Connswater and Celtic Swing are especially calm and meditative, with rhythms rippling like a reflecting pool in a soft breeze. September Night is a dreamy melody cooed by what sounds like a siren choir backed by Van on the 88s. The strangest offering is a kind of literary rap tune called Rave On, John Donne, in which Van drops the names of dozens of poets from Kahlil Gibran to Walt Whitman.

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