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Horslips - Dancehall Sweethearts CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.78 | 28 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars The king of the fairies

Following after the excellent conceptual album The Tain, Dancehall Sweethearts is almost necessarily a bit less interesting. However, there is much to enjoy here too. The present album may not be held together by a concept, but it is a fairly coherent album with mostly good moments some of which are even as strong as the previous album. There is a slight change of musical direction towards the "commercial" which can be noticed on a few of the songs. The difference in the music is, however, not at all as apparent as the difference between the cover art pictures - from a dark picture of a hand in armour ready for war (The Tain) to a rather sleazy picture of the members of the band (Dancehall Sweethearts). Indeed, even the album title itself is badly chosen; Dancehall Sweethearts!? I don't know who's who in the band, but the man to the very left in the cover picture looks very much like Graham Chapman of the Monty Python group!

But don't be fooled into thinking that this change is that radical, this is still for the most part very much Prog Folk with a very Irish sound. There are still clearly many progressive aspects to Horslips' sound and approach even some which were not there before, like a stronger presence of different keyboard instruments. The latter are most obvious on the short instrumental We Bring The Summer With Us, which is a great little interlude. There are also some brass instruments that might be an acquired taste, but for the most part they fit in.

The Rock 'N' Roll opener Nighttown Boy is a bit of a disappointment and it initially scarred me away somewhat from this album. But one should really hold out and listen further into the album to find the better songs which I did. Despite Lonely Hearts, which is back to the straightforward Rock 'N' Roll style of Nighttown Boy, the second half of the album is by far the better half and more interesting one with very strong numbers such as Mad Pat and King Of The Fairies. But also the first half has its highlights.

Overall, I think that Horslips is an underrated group and Dancehall Sweethearts is, despite some lesser moments, one of their best albums. I would, however, strongly recommend starting with The Tain and Book Of Invasions which are the band's finest efforts. But for those who like those albums, the present album is a very worthy addition.

Recommended, but not the best place to start

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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