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Jethro Tull - A CD (album) cover

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Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.19 | 389 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

progaardvark
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This was originally supposed to be an Ian Anderson solo album, but with Chrysalis Records having slow record sales, the record company asked Anderson to credit this under the Jethro Tull moniker. Yeah, this isn't the first time something like this happened, nor will it be the last. Remember the Squire- Rabin Cinema project?

Ian Anderson during this time period had some sort of passing fascination with synthesizer technology and because of this, this album is loaded with them, making it quite distinct compared to earlier albums in the Jethro Tull discography. This also makes this one of the more controversial albums the group ever released. It really sounded like nothing Anderson or Jethro Tull had ever produced before. In hindsight, the group probably regrets this album and fans seem to either hate it or love it.

I am on the "love it" side of that equation and it's primarily because Anderson had the good sense to bring a really good keyboard player into the fold: the one and only Eddie Jobson. But instead of a symphonic prog/folk prog mixture one might expect, this album sounds like Jethro Tull's version of new wave music. The end result is a rather unique sound consisting of melodic flute lines interacting with new wave/neo prog keyboard and Ian Barre's guitar. The other aspect from the Tull repertoire are Anderson's lengthy lyrics squeezed into shorter fragments than they normally would have had on their more folkier albums. The music also has a more accessible feel to it, but even so, there is a lot of stuff going on in each song. This isn't pop rock per se, but more like complicated art rock.

Anderson would later take his fascination with music technology and synthesizers to the brink of insanity with the ridiculous Under Wraps album a few years later. He would find a decent balance between the folkier aspects of Jethro Tull and modern keyboard usage with Crest of a Knave later in the 1980s.

I found this album to be a rather fascinating experiment and a rather enjoyable listen. Perhaps it should really be considered an Ian Anderson solo album as it is so different from the usual Jethro Tull releases from the 1970s. Regardless of how it got its name and who it ought to be credited to, it's valid proof of Anderson's ability to be a composer in multiple genres.

progaardvark | 4/5 |

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