Aslan's first album following the departure of co-founder and songwriter Tony McGuinness, Uncase'd is a modest collection of ten cover songs that serves primarily as a stopgap release. McGuinness announced his departure in February 2008, around the same time that Aslan was named Best Irish Band at the Meteor Irish Music Awards. After 25 years in the band, he'd decided to move to Australia with his wife and daughter. The loss of McGuinness is significant. He wrote much of the material on Aslan's previous album, For Some Strange Reason (2007), including the singles "Here Comes the Sun" and "Jealous Little Thing." If not for him, Aslan may have not released For Some Strange Reason, the band's first album of new material in six years. Uncase'd is therefore something of a stopgap release that signals to fans that Aslan plans to continue without McGuinness but hasn't yet resolved the matter of who exactly is going to write new material for the band. While there isn't much music on Uncase'd, which clocks in at a mere ten songs in less than 40 minutes, the material is mostly familiar and performed well enough. Vocalist Christy Dignam in particular is in fine form here, and one suspects that he was responsible for selecting the bulk of this material, as it's generally well-suited to him. With the exception of a couple American songs, all of the covers are of either Irish (Gilbert O'Sullivan, U2) or British (Electric Light Orchestra, Catatonia) origin. Among the more familiar songs are John Lennon's "Jealous Guy," David Bowie's "Quicksand," and Rod Stewart's "Maggie May." One of the more curious inclusions is one-hit wonder Thunderclap Newman's 1969 smash hit "Something in the Air." Even more curious are the two American songs, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "My Friends" and Billy Joel's "Goodnight Saigon." As curious as much of this material is, however, it's all performed rather plainly and makes what could be an interesting collection of covers unfortunately quite bland.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier