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Horslips - Aliens CD (album) cover

ALIENS

Horslips

 

Prog Folk

3.26 | 17 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Book of emigrations

The follow up to Book Of Invasions was another conceptual album. This time it is based on the Irish emigration to America (a concept later adopted by Andy Latimer for Camel's fantastic Harbour Of Tears album). While on the surface this is less progressive compared to the Book Of Invasions album, this is not entirely correct as Book Of Invasions itself was something of a deception in this department! Book Of Invasions is an excellent album indeed, but despite the several fantastic instrumental intros and interludes, the actual songs themselves on that album had conventional verse-chorus-verse- structures and often also very catchy choruses. The music on Aliens is actually not that different from on the previous album. It is definitively true that Horslips had a change of direction (very similar to that of most progressive bands in the latter part of the 70's), but this change was gradual and was set in motion already with the Dancehall Sweethearts album in 1974. Horslips changed indeed, but they didn't "sell out", at least no yet at this point.

With the exception of a very short and discrete intro track to set the mood before the first proper song and a nice instrumental that ends the album, Aliens begins and ends in a similar style to the Dancehall Sweethearts album; namely, with straightforward and rather forgettable Rock 'N' Roll numbers in Wrath Of The Rain and A Lifetime To Pay. This weak opening gives the impression that the band had completely lost its Folk Rock style. However, again like with Dancehall Sweethearts, it gets better further on. Speed The Plough is a nice tune with lovely harmony vocals. Overall, the vocals was actually getting better with each album. Sure The Boy Was Green sounds very much like Jethro Tull, both due to the flute sound and the strong Ian Anderson-like vocals in the chorus. Come Summer is also a bit Jethro Tull-like in their acoustic, folky moments (think of the Heavy Horses album).

New York Wakes with its female backing vocals in the chorus is not that successful, however, despite some tasteful Ian Anderson-like flutes again. Ghosts slows things down and is a nice ballad with some nice touches of spacey keyboards. Second Avenue has again a Jethro Tull sound, but the chorus is way too catchy to be mistaken for anything by Jethro Tull. Exiles is a very nice instrumental that ends the album on a high note with bluesy electric guitars together with very Celtic sounds. Lovely!

To conclude, Aliens is a recommended album. But I would not recommend anyone to start their investigation into Horslips with this album. Begin with The Tain, Book Of Invasions, Happy To Meet, Sorry To Part and Dancehall Sweethearts first and if you still want more after that, go for Aliens!

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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