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Horslips - The Unfortunate Cup Of Tea CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

2.79 | 19 ratings

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2 stars Among aficionados, some of the lesser works of established artists can be victimized by the harsh judgments that plague the overly familiar. A specific "yardstick album" becomes that against which all other offerings are compared, and these rank and file releases may suffer more by unfair comparison than by "objective" lower quality. In the case of Irish legends HORSLIPS, the standard bearers would be "The Tain" and "The Book of Invasions", although their debut might also qualify. "The Man Who Built America" would exemplify a worthwhile alteration of their sound that has not always been judged by its own considerable merits. Conversely, "The Unfortunate Cup of Tea" receives more praise that it warrants, as even measured against conventional rock albums of its day it is remarkably pedestrian; when factoring in the band's legacy, it's best ignored.

The previous "Dancehall Sweethearts" had already veered uncomfortably into undistinguished hard rock on a number of tunes, somewhat balanced by a few outstanding tracks, but here the trend is extended, and so are the worst songs. The seven minute (!) dumbed down hard rock of "If that's what you want", the 6 minute "Self Defense" and the five and a half minute "High Volume Love" all signify a band with a dearth of inspiration and a surprise studio booking. Luckily, "Flirting in the Shadows" suggests they did have a few ideas in the can, as it's an eerie and progressive ballad that tackles the mundane with imagination. The closing instrumental "The Snakes Farewell to the Emerald Island" demonstrates that they were capable of parlaying conventional blues rock into a captivating instrumental, which only accentuates the enfeebled attempts elsewhere. Luckily, the stain left behind by "The Unfortunate Cup of Tea" was dispensed with the following year.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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