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Horslips - Aliens CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.29 | 20 ratings

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2 stars Plenty of times on "Book of Invasions", HORSLIPS conceded to the mainstream more than hitherto imaginable. Yet the integrity of the historical and musical concept was only strengthened by these compromises, just as in the building of any monumental structure. On "Aliens" the group shifted to a more modern era and from legend to true story, that of the vast emigration of Irish folk during the mid 1800s when blighted potatoes threatened starvation. A noble concept and well executed from a storytelling perspective, but musically Horslips has moved from celtic rock with arena rock pretensions to arena rock with a few celtic embellishments slung sloppily about ones person like Mardi Gras beads as an afterthought for a night on the town.

A glaring example of the group's identity crisis is "Sure the Boy was Green", which is a cross between the rocked up reels in "Dancehall Sweethearts", THIN LIZZY and STEELY DAN. It flits from one camp to another like an independent politician who wins over nobody. Elsewhere, this is largely riff centered rock, with the riffs not being memorable enough on their own to compete with the frequent and increasingly misplaced flutes. Songs like "Come Summer" and "Stowaway" do possess a certain rough cut charm, and "Ghosts" suggests a path that would be taken more consistently on "The Man Who Built America", while its validity results partly from its virtually unique status as ballad on this disc.

While quality is not alien to this late stage album, distinctiveness and sense of integrity and purpose are. 2.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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