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Horslips - Aliens CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.29 | 20 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Moving to America.

In the direct follow-up to Horslip's massively successful The Book Of Invasions, the boys have decided to write a second concept album following roughly the same story. While the previous album focused on the events lead up to an exile from Ireland, this album focuses on the trip to America. It makes sense, in that regard, that this album is a lot less ''folk'' than its predecessor. The end result is an album that sounds like Horslips mashed together with Jethro Tull and Thin Lizzy with a large emphasis on rocking riffs over intricate folk melodies, although the use of the flute and violin are still highly prominent. Overall, the songs are each highly memorable, although not quite par as to the quality of previous albums - but the album also does feature some of the band's greatest moments.

The album is also more ''song based'' than previous albums from the 'slips. While albums like The Tain and Book of Invasions feature a string of short songs combining into one long song-cycle this one simply plays out the tunes and moves on. This works for most of the songs on the album, and given the context of a more 'American' album it makes sense to do. Still, one misses the technical grace that was presented on previous albums. However, some of the songs do just fine on their own. Among the standouts on the record are the Jethro Tull-esque Sure The Boy Was Green with its mean flute leading the charge and the Thin Lizzy style vocals making it the epitome of the style on the album. The single Exiles is also a mean standout that is likely the best song from the second side of the album (unfortunately a touch weaker than the first).

Other songs on the album tend to be very catchy and strait up hard rock, and most of them are very good. Speed of The Plough is a good, midpaced, catchy number while Come Summer makes good use of the band's unique vocals. Still other songs on the album tend to fall off a bit in quality, and while they're always entertaining (there's no dull moment on the album, really) they do tend to be forgotten among the album's stronger numbers. These are the ones that tend to pack less of a 'punch' than some of the other songs. Second Avenue is a good example of this, as while it is a good number it does tend to be a little bit soft on the ear when compared to the more hard hitting stuff from earlier on.

In the end this is still a worthy addition to the Horslips catalog, and according to the production values on the artwork and the inner sleeve what the record label thought would be their most viable. Not the place to start with the boys since it really doesn't reflect the quality and style of their classic works, but if you're into the band then this is not one to pass up. Enough folk to still entice the celtic listeners, and hard rock enough to be a little more commercial. Unfortunately, this would be the last to really feature the celtic influences, but we can still enjoy them for the time being. 3 stars out of 5 - good, but not essential. Still, definitely one to 'get around to'.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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