Review Summary: Prepare for a nostalgic journey…
When people talk about progressive rock, United Kingdom is the country that is most mentioned. They are heralded for having King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, Soft Machine, Caravan, Pink Floyd, and such...but what about its neighbor, Ireland? This country often came unnoticed with music but still has its heroes. A group by the name of Horslips began to work with the prog rock genre but also pioneered something new…something that would give Ireland the credit it deserves. This new genre would become known as celtic rock, a genre that helped both Horslips and Ireland stand out in the 1970s as a worthy act.
When you look at each of the band members, every one of them seems to know what they’re playing, and play their music exceptionally. The traditional instruments in this album blend especially well with the rock genre in general and give you the feeling that you’re in Ireland. This is thanks to Charles O’Connor and Jim Lockhart, whose playing of the mandolin, violin, concertina, keyboards, flute, pipes, and slide guitars is truly sublime. There is also a brilliant display of newer rock elements brought forward by the rest of the band. This mix of new and old blends so well, making The Book of Invasion one of Horslips’s best team chemistries in their band career.
The lyricism used in The Book of Invasions is fun, light, and the most Irish-oriented out of any Horslips album. But there is something more amazing than the lyricism: how well it is extended out by Charles O’ Connor, Jim Lockhart, John Fean, and Barry Devlin. The four vocalists, who collaborate with each other on The Book of Invasions, are especially great at having their vocals be flexible with most listeners, making this album an enjoyable experience. There’s also a hint of Irish gusto to each of the vocalists, adding something ethnically seasoning.
What’s most unique about this album is the peak form of Celtic rock, which goes beyond roots and deep into tales of the Irish homelands. This had never been experimented with as vigorously in any other album produced in Ireland’s history before; a highly revolutionizing step in the 1970s. Similar in a concept style to that of English counterpart, the Moody Blues’s Days of Future Passed, Horslips goes through some of Ireland’s old, traditional tales and stories made into an entire legend. One major advantage to this concept is that it’s guaranteed to be new to any listener, Irish or not. Being new, the concept is also original. This is another key point to this album being a success.
As far as The Book of Invasions goes, it is composed of three forms of success. One: the success of being progressive very well. Horslips does a great job doing that after carrying the genre rather subtly for quite a few albums. Two: the victory of creating a truly ethnically enjoyable and original sounding Celtic rock album. Horslips put huge amounts of emphasis on that. And three: they created their most successful album to date. That’s what made The Book of Invasions a work of art.