Sunday, September 25, 2011

Horslips - Aliens (DJM, 1977)

My birthday happens to fall on St. Patrick's Day, and on that day a couple of years ago a friend of mine gave me a copy of the Horselips album “Aliens.” This was a great addition to my Irish music collection, which I wear out on my birthday. Plus, it's not so “skee-diddley-dee,” that is so stereotypical of Irish music. In fact, I enjoy listening to this band all year round now I've been introduced.
Horselips were a Celtic rock band that originally formed in Dublin during the early seventies. Some have considered Horselips as a progressive rock band. I believe that is primarily due to their renditions of traditional folk songs and use of a flute or fife. Do people call anything that is traditionally “white” sounding “prog?” Anyway, it is said that they started a band to get beer tabs in their local pub and realized that they had something worth while. As they are know for their rock versions of traditional Irish folk tunes, the album “Short Stories and Tall Tales” which came out later in their career in 79', is inherently Irish sounding, but very rock-pop driven, in the manner of some of the best Thin Lizzy songs and albums. When I first put it on the turn table, of course certain associations come to mind, and I thought “this sounds like Jethro Tull without all the dramatic frills.” Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate the works of Ian Anderson, but you know, sometimes you wanna listen to something sans theatrical development. Horselips is a solid, driving rock group that conjures up styles of many pub rock or punk rock bands of that era. This album is super catchy with simple combinations of guitar fuzz, keyboard blipping melodies, steady beats and hearty vocal arrangements. The lyrical content often reflects everything from love and love loss, to moral decision making and giving a description of the Irish working class. One of my favorite tracks is the song “Rescue Me.” It tells of a sea bound and stranded man falling away from his home as he dreams of life on land. A great metaphor for many aspects of life. Oh, and “Rescue Me” has a killer flute solo. Yeah!

--Sean Dail

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