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For Some Strange Reason
For Some Strange Reason is a mature and confident sounding album by a band who could show some of their younger rivals how to write decent rock tracks.
Jason O'Toole, 08 Oct 2007
It is almost 21 years since Aslan swaggered into the limelight after winning the Hot Press ‘Most Promising New Band’ award, which brought them to the attention of EMI, who released their first-rate debut album, Feel No Shame, back in 1988.
Unlike the majority of talented Irish bands from the mid-'80s who never made it past their first or second album, Aslan are set to release their eighth record. But a closer inspection of their musical bibliography reveals that this latest opus, For Some Strange Reason, is only Aslan’s fifth studio album, and their first since 2001’s Waiting For The Madness To End.
Within such a lifespan, most bands would probably have produced a minimum of, say, a dozen albums. But Christy Dignam’s exhaustively documented problems with drugs, which saw the band break-up, only to be reformed six years later, has undoubtedly played a major factor in Aslan’s modest output. But then again, the band would probably argue that stringent quality control in their music has also played a significant role in their decision not to churn out a mediocre album on a yearly basis.
The long wait for a new studio album has been well worth it for Aslan’s dedicated legion of fans. For Some Strange Reason is a mature and confident sounding album by a band who could show some of their younger, less inexperienced, rivals how to write decent rock tracks. Christy’s singing is still, thankfully, as fresh and as energetic sounding as it was on those early classic tracks, such as ‘This Is’ and ‘Crazy World’. If there was one downfall to this record, it has to be the lyrics, which, despite depicting a very personal odyssey for Christy and the band, can sometimes be spoiled by the nauseating clichés and awkwardly mixed similes.
Aslan, who derived their name from heroic lion in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia chronicles, still have plenty of roar left in them, judging by the new album. Predictably, the dark period in the band’s history is blamed for their lack of success outside of Ireland, but you have to remember, as Christy’s sings on the new album, they never sold out for fame. All the better for true fans of decent Irish rock music.