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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Horslips - 1977 Aliens
Horslips - 1977 Aliens

ARTIST: Horslips
ALBUM: Aliens
LABEL: DJM Records
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 2010, Talking Elephant, MOOCCD 014 (with bonus tracks)


LINEUP: John Fean - guitar, vocals * Barry Devlin - bass, vocals * Jim Lockhart - keyboards, flute * Charles O'Connor - fiddle, mandolin, vocals * Eamon Carr - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Before The Storm * 02 The Wrath Of The Rain * 03 Speed The Plough * 04 Sure The Boy Was Green * 05 Come Summer * 06 Stowaway * 07 New York Waves * 08 Exiles * 09 Second Avenue * 10 Ghosts * 11 A Lifetime To Pay


Ask any rock fan who they think is the greatest band from Ireland and you're more than likely to get a Thin Lizzy, U2 and maybe a smart ass Taste/Rory Gallagher answer. Don't get me wrong, I love Lizzy and I enjoy a very small brace of U2 releases but in the end my money is on Horslips, the band that pretty much started the Celtic Rock movement. The late Phil Lynott said 'Horslips did an awful lot to keep the (Irish) industry alive' and Bono when describing the band's remarkable second album 'We just heard 'The Tain' and went Wow!'. Big endorsements for the Dublin based band who by 1977 had already made inroads into the U.S. with their previous masterpiece 'The Book Of Invasions: A Celtic Symphony' which is widely considered their best. To crack the market even further Horslips created a concept album on Irish Immigrants escaping the Potato famine of the 1800's to settle in America only later finding it wasn't exactly what they had hoped.

The Songs
Yeah, not exactly 'hit' making subject matter but this was recorded in a pivotal year; the times had changed and Horslips had to change with it. Here the songs are shorter and the Celtic and prog influences are toned down; a trend they followed, some say disastrously on their final two studio albums 'The Man Who Built America' and 1979's 'Short Stories/ Tall Tales'. While Jethro Tull influences have always been in play on previous Horslips albums, the sound on 'Aliens' fits quite comfortably with 'Songs From The Wood' and 'Heavy Horses' from the same era and it's an enjoyable listen. The brief instrumental 'Before The Storm' opens the LP with the sound of a foghorn and a light guitar weave before the foot-tapping 'The Wrath Of The Rain' kicks in. 'Sure The Boy Was Green' and the breezy 'Come Summer' with wispy flute work from keyboardist John Lockhart will surely please Tull fans. I particularly like 'Stowaway' with its galloping beat and masterful guitar soloing from John Fean. The forlorn foghorn appears once again in the beautiful instrumental 'Exiles' which reminds me of similar stuff found on the early Focus albums. Very nice as is the 'Aqualung' styled guitar riff on 'Second Avenue' and it's easy to understand why 'Aliens' did moderately well in the America, reaching #98 on the Billboard charts at a time when Ian Anderson and company were still filling hockey arenas.

In Summary
Heavy touring followed 'Aliens' release which included shows in Ireland, Germany, a UK tour with Thin Lizzy and dates in the U.S. with J. Geils Band, Be Bop Deluxe and The Tubes, as well as some more notable gigs including headlining New York's Palladium Theater with a fresh out of the box Van Halen as their opening act and a 3 night stint playing support to Ram Jam at the Starwood in Los Angeles.

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#1 | gdazegod on July 15 2015 06:47:49
Horslips - 1977 Aliens (Full Album)
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