Basically, this album is classic enya. Regardless of the themes of Christmas and winter, she hasn't done anything remotely drastic to her sound ... so if you believe Enya's music to be too samey and you are hoping for change, this isn't for you. If you are an Enya fan and liked her most recent albums (a day without rain, amarantine) as well as her earlier work, then I think you will like this.
The music / instruments and arrangements, vocal layering etc are classic enya... I personally don't find her music too samey and enjoy listening to every album when it comes.. I can see why some people complain she won't change, but I (like many others I suspect) wouldn't want it any other way... it's this sound I want and am buying into, that soothing, relaxing gentle sound.
This Christmas / winter album won't disappoint if you accept she isn't straying too much from the enya sound we know and love. I should point out, the album is really a Christmas album, this winter tag is something of a new record industry gimmick I suspect. People don't want to call their albums Christmas albums anymore in case it offends non-christians or restricts the market for the album too much.
This album is laden with Christian refernces to the nativity story of the birth of jesus, so if that is likely to offend , disinterest you, this won't be for you. As a Christian, this is exactly what I want, meaningful Christmas music.
Winter is a theme that does run through the album but the album really is a Christmas album, because most of the tracks reference Christmas more. Still, there are a few tracks (slightly less than half ) that could be listened to throughout the year.
My favorites are the instrumental title track 'And Winter Came,' the dark but uptempo 'Trains and Winter Rains,' the soothing 'Last Time By Moonlight,' and the reflective and gentle 'The Spirit of Christmas Past.'