Album Review: Donovan's 1996 album Sutras was his first studio effort in more than a decade, and it proved that he still had the magic. While the album has a bit of the rock-and-folk feel that rooted Donovan's lighter hits like "Wear Your Love Like Heaven," "Jennifer Juniper" and "Lalena," Sutras is a unique album in Donovan's catalog. As the name implies, Sutras is steeped in the thoughts, ways, and wisdom of the ancient East. The music and words flow around you, soothing your ears and mind at the same time. But it's
not wishy-washy new-age music; it has well formed, interesting songs. It's always tempting to try to identify a "best song" on an album.... On Sutras, perhaps it's "Deep Peace," a gentle, elegant treatment of an old Irish earth poem that will have you closing your eyes in appreciation. Or maybe it's "The Way," an upbeat folkish tune that could have fit on any of Donovan's earlier folk-pop-rock albums. Or it could be the haunting
"Everlasting Sea," a metaphor that connects love of person to love of Earth. Or it might be "Nirvana," a hypnotic, grinding folk-dirge. Or it could even be the closing song on Sutras, the awe-inspiring "Universe Am I." (By the end of the song you are likely to believe it.) But the strength of Sutras lies not in individual songs, however worthy, but rather in the whole work, a triumph of spirit and musicianship. Listeners looking only for
the more rocked-out side of Donovan—as they heard in songs like "Hurdy Gurdy Man" or "Sunshine Superman"—won't find it here; but those who like Donovan's lighter side will be pleased and uplifted by Sutras. Whether you're lying on emerald grass or weedy lawn as you stare up at the calming sky—or whether you're just sitting in a chair in front of your green computer screen—you are hereby encouraged to take a dose of Donovan and reacquaint yourself with the cosmos.