It's always been very 'Big Music', often with literary pretensions. Which does beg the question… how prog is Mike Scott?
"I love The Waterboys, but I wouldn't classify them even remotely as a prog band. I would label them as pop/rock, with elements of traditional Irish folk."
WILLIAM WALLBERG "They've had their 'prog' moments, notably A Pagan
Place and This Is The Sea. It seems to me that after that Mr Scott hasn't really innovated in any real sense. As much as I like the folky vibe of Fisherman's Blues,
I'd struggle to describe it, or anything that followed, as progressive."
DAVID ELLIOTT "Started out Bunnymen meets Van Morrison. So odd, but not prog. They then went more Steve Earle goes Celtic. Much less odd, but still not prog."
PROG WATCHER "Their music's enjoyable enough, but they can't be said to have broken any new ground. So for me, not prog."
LEIGH LANGHORN "They combine the folk roots of The Incredible String Band with the soul of the Moving Hearts, mix in a splash of psychedelia, the lyricism of Dylan and, after 30 plus years, release a triple album. The one group wifey and I agree on."
GARY MORLEY "Where rock and roll tips its hat to American blues, I've thought that progressive rock has dipped into the well of British/Celtic folk music at its root, thematically and lyrically. The Waterboys have pushed that folk tradition forward, progressively…"
"About as prog as mild chedder cheese."
JAMES SHARDLOW "In prog terms they'd probably have a lot in common with the Canterbury scene and also Fairport Convention."
LESLIE MOYES "Not prog, but a folk-influenced rock band/artist that explore the parameters of that particular field. Great band/artist nevertheless…"
THOMAS OLSSON "Actually my introduction to The Waterboys was a guy in a record store who told me, 'So you like progressive rock, well have a listen to this one – it's like Jethro Tull for the 80s.' Then he handed me A Pagan Place. Bought it, brought it home, put it on, and loved it…"
JACOB HOLM-LUPO "I wouldn't really call The Waterboys progressive in any aspect… They're just good folk rock!"
CIARAN WHYTE "More part of 'the big music' fraternity before they went all raggle taggle, but a very good band. Their sound changed when Karl Wallinger left to form World Party, who were possibly more proggy than the Waterboys…"
NEIL BOUGHEY "Nah, not for me. Good band, folk and Celtic influences certainly, but not much prog going on."
MARK HUDSON "Why would you even ask that? Was it a drunken conversation down the pub?"