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Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus CD (album) cover


Ian Anderson


Prog Folk

3.59 | 197 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars No one can say Ian Anderson isn't ambitious. But the author of "Thick as a Brick" and "A Passion Play" may have chewed off more than he (or we) can swallow with his latest project: a three-part, fifteen-song chronicle of humankind in Britain, beginning nine millennia ago and charting a sporadic path to an uncertain near-future circa AD 2044. The epic scope would have challenged even the most determined Progressive Rocker, without even considering the concept behind the concept: an over-elaborate fictional back-story involving Anderson's old doppelgänger Gerald Bostock.

It's reassuring to see him embracing his inner-Progger so warmly, albeit almost to the point of suffocation. It can take longer to digest the contents of the CD booklet, with its copious lyrics and tongue-in-cheek essays, than to sit through the CD itself: a sure sign of thematic overkill. The music itself might almost have been an afterthought, all of it typically well-played and lavishly produced but hardly distinctive or even memorable, and like his recent "Brick" sequel entirely too lyric-driven, without a lot of melodic hooks to grab hold of.

On his web site it's referred to as a "Jethro Tull album (in all but name)": strictly sales talk for susceptible fans. It's true that Tull has always (or at least since 1969) been Anderson's vehicle, but at its best the band was also a genuine group, with distinctive personalities among the many players. What's missing here is the synergy of a true ensemble. The new quintet is certainly competent but, unlike classic Tull, completely anonymous, despite all the cosmetic similarities. Why hire young talent if the end result is only a watered-down facsimile of bygone days?

At the age of 67 Anderson isn't ready to settle into his dotage yet, and more power to him. But I wish the Tull CEO would stop resurrecting the Bostock persona, although I understand his intuitive reasoning: it's a link to his more creative (and far more relevent) musical youth. In the early 1970's Anderson was celebrating the virtues of Living in the Past, and it's nice to hear he hasn't completely changed his tune more than forty years later. Progressive Rock needs all the champions it can get these days, but perhaps it's time for him to leave the past alone and start looking forward again.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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