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Horslips - Drive The Cold Winter Away CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.07 | 20 ratings

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2 stars While Horslips' ancient celtic roots were never far from the surface, at times on "Dancehall Sweethearts" and "The Unfortunate Cup of Tea", one could be excused for dismissing them as Irish upstarts who couldn't quite play straightforward hard rock. This says nothing of what came after "Book of Invasions". Because they tended to prudently couple the modern and the well worn, it was only when they fell in one direction or other that they could be accused of sell out. Yes, "Drive the Cold Winter Away" seems the oddest sort of concession to the commercial market, an out and out return to their forefathers' roots in time for Christmas and mulled wine and all.

None of this would matter if they had bothered to impart their own take on the traditional more than on occasion, but unfortunately what we have here is simply a holiday album of traditional tunes and songs, the likes of which we have heard many times before by the BOTHY BAND, CHIEFTAINS or myriad other celtic agglomerations. The most interesting aspects are the brilliant harpsichord work by Jim Lockhart, and rare deployment of the lovely Irish tongue. "Mary Bore a Son to God", "Sir Festus Burke", Denis O'Connor" and "That Night in Bethlehem" illustrate these aspects best. Unfortunately, several promising tunes overstay their welcome, like "The Snow that Melts the Soonest" and "When a Man's in Love". For HORSLIPS, this is just too pretty and sterile - where are the tawdry edge and the sneering vitriole?

I accentuate that this is well played basically traditional celtic music that is appealing as such, but in my quest for the more edgy proponents of similar styles, I fear this Horslips collection will drive me stark raving sane before it delivers on its promises. 2.5 stars rounded down.

kenethlevine | 2/5 |


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