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I always thought Thin Lizzy was an odd choice for the Archives. Not that I dislike them or want to argue whether or not they are a metal band, but I always saw them as more of a hard rock band. It seems strange that they should be included and not, say, Uriah Heep. However, Thin Lizzy’s first album, along with most of their early work, is certainly not truly metal. However, it is a fun hard rock/rock album.
The album starts off with The Friendly Ranger at Clontarf Castle, which has an almost psychedelic intro, then going into a more traditional early Thin Lizzy song. The Boys Are Back in Town this is not however. Phil Lynott’s vocals seem to do more driving the song than the instrumentals until the solos and actual instrumental parts. Most of this song, for instance, is made of a fairly simple bass line and a drum beat. There isn’t a lot of guitar until the singing actually ends. Honesty is No Excuse is mostly an acoustic guitar playing a handful of chords, another simple bass line, and the drums again. Although the music never strays far from how it starts, the song is still rather fun and interesting due to Lynott’s lyrics and singing.
For the most part, this is how a lot of the album sounds; acoustic songs, with some electric solos and parts, some good drumming and some decent enough but simple bass. But all the songs are given life by Lynott’s lyrics and vocals. Despite the fact Phil was never considered any kind of amazing stand out vocalist, his voice fits Thin Lizzy’s music great. Other high points of the album for me include Look What the Wind Blew In and the closer Remembering, Pt. 1.
The album is far from perfect though. Ray-Gun starts off with some almost Hendrix-like guitar riff, but aside from the interesting riff, was never a standout track for me. I don’t know why, I like the riff but it just can’t hold my attention well enough. Also, despite the fact I’m often a sucker for slow ballad-like tracks, I tend to just find Eire uninteresting, however it’s only about 2 minutes long, so it’s rather forgivable.
Any other songs not mentioned are generally decent. Not amazing nor are they terrible. All together this is a decent rock debut album. Not as good as their work to come, but if you’re a fan of Lynott’s voice or 70’s rock, it’s worth checking out. However, I can easily see this not being a favorite of people who people who want a more metal-styled Thin Lizzy. Which leaves me with a question on whether I should rate this a metal album, which it’s clearly not, or as a rock album, despite the fact it’s on a metal site. I think even though I enjoy this album as a hard rock album, I’m going to have to lower the score due to the fact that I can see a lot of metalheads not enjoying this particular Thin Lizzy album. I’d normally probably give it a 76-77%, due to it being a decent hard rock debut with a few weak tracks, but lowering it to about a 70% seems fair, all things considered.