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March 10, 2021 / rockroots

Barry Devlin – Breaking Star Codes

After the break-up of Horslips in 1980, bass player/singer Barry Devlin began work on a solo concept album based loosely around the signs of the zodiac. The result was Breaking Star Codes, released through RTÉ Records in 1983. There was a who’s who of musicians involved in the album, including Greg Boland, Paul McAteer, Brian Masterson and Roger Doyle from Supply Demand & Curve, Garvan Gallagher from Metropolis, Steven Travers and Tommy Lundy of The Crack, Honor Heffernan and Tommy Moore. Most prominent of all was Devlin’s Horslips colleague Jim Lockhart. The album cover featured a painting by Roger Dean, a name synonymous with ’70s prog rock artwork.

The songs are in a soft rock vein, and may not have been what Horslips fans were expecting. Indeed, the self-effacing Devlin writes in the sleeve insert that he would have preferred eight songs but there are twelve zodiac signs to be referenced, and also that the zodiac narrative link through the songs is fairly tenuous. Many years later he joked that the album only sold 14 copies despite making the Irish charts. Nevertheless, fans of his former (and now revived) band may find this of interest. Devlin & Lockhart collaborated again with RTÉ in composing the iconic theme tune to the long-running rural drama series Glenroe. Breaking Star Codes remains Barry Devlin’s only project as a solo artist.

RTÉ promoted the album and filmed a television special titled ‘The Star Codes Project’, recorded in June 1983 but not broadcast until March 1984. Although this remains locked in the vaults for the time being, the promo suggests an intriguing mix of mimed performance and interpretive dance – surely worthy of another airing!

Barry Devlin – Breaking Star Codes (192 kbps):

  1. Twins (Gemini)
  2. Who Can Tame The Lion (Leo)
  3. It’s The Cruellest Sign (Virgo)
  4. Remember You’re A Winner (Aries)
  5. When Two Stars Collide (Sagittarius)
  6. Just Another Line (Pisces)
  7. Let The Scales Decide (Libra)
  8. December 21 (Capricorn)
  9. The Stars Said (Taurus)
  10. Remember A Star (Cancer)
  11. Aquarian Girls (Aquarius)
  12. Love With A Sting In It’s Tail (Scorpio)

See Also:

Irish Rock Discography: Barry Devlin

Wikipedia: Barry Devlin

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