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Horslips: The Man Who Built America

There is perhaps nothing as powerful as music that has that ability to transport the listener to a particular time in one's life. To say that music brings back powerful memories is an understatement. Such is the case with me and the band Horslips. The year was 1979, my formative years as a music fan were evolving in different directions soaking in as many bands as I could get my hands on. Thanks to my older brother Horslips was one such band. The album The Man Who Built America was my introduction to the band and as such will always have a special place in my heart.

The band's previous effort before 'America' titled Aliens had the band incorporating pop music into their Irish folk rock roots and with The Man Who Built America Horslips took the pop template even further. While many fans prefer their older sound found on their first few albums (I dig it as well), 'America' will always be my favourite disc from the band. To my ears this is pure pop rock perfection while still displaying the outstanding musicianship the band has always been noted for. The hooks in this album come early and often starting with the opening tune "Loneliness", an ultra-catchy number with hooks galore. Like many of the albums tunes the chorus is to die for along with the guitar riffs and keyboards. Add excellent lead vocals and harmonies and you have just over four minutes of highly enjoyable late '70s rock music. More irresistible nuggets include the rocking "Tonight (You're With Me)", the sweet pop ballad "I'll Be Waiting" with its emotive guitar and wonderful vocal arrangement and the folky pop of "Green Star Liner".

My favourite has to be the title track where the band absolutely shines; the vocals, keyboards, riffs and the catchiest chorus on the album. I never get tired of hearing this one.

The disc has been re-mastered by Paul Whittaker and sounds great. The three live bonus tracks aren't quite there vocally but this is a minor gripe.

While this isn't near as complex as the band has sounded previously and the song structures are more pop rock than folky prog, there is just something about The Man Who Built America that gets me every time. Highly recommended!

Track Listing:
1. Loneliness (4:17)
2. Tonight (You're With Me) (3:18)
3. I'll Be Waiting (6:23)
4. If It Takes All Night (3:32)
5. Green Star Liner (3:24)
6. The Man Who Built America (3:36)
7. Homesick (4:00)
8. Long Weekend (3:46)
9. Letters From Home (4:14)
10. Long Time Ago (3:36)
Bonus Tracks
11. The Man Who Built America (Recorded at Park West, Chicago 1980) (3:35)
12. Loneliness (Recorded at Sigma Sound, Philadelphia 1978) (4:19)
13. Homesick (Recorded at The Bottom Line, New York 1979) (4:13)

Added: January 14th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1227
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Horslips: The Man Who Built America
Posted by Carmine on 2018-02-24 02:38:44
My Score:

Agree completely with your review. It's my favorite Horslips album. Not as folky/proggy as their earlier stuff , but a tasteful balance of polished melodic rock hooks with a hint of celtic overtones. About as close to AOR perfection as you could get, and it still holds up extremely well all these years later. Great songs and musicianship never get old!

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