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Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus CD (album) cover


Ian Anderson


Prog Folk

3.58 | 204 ratings

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4 stars Is liking this album a sign of my being an ageing Tull fan? Probably....

When Mr Ian Anderson of JETHRO TULL fame was presented the "Prog God" award in 2013 (proclaiming "Prog is Fun!") , fans of his colorful stage persona and unique musical talent already knew he had promised a "progressive folk metal" album for the next year. I think anyone could have predicted that reactions and reviews would run hot-and-cold, as they do for any new progressive music long past the era in which this kind of thing was fashionable, and anyway wasn't the controversial Rock Island the last overt attempt at folk-metal on Tull's part? But prog fans are as odd as they are fickle, and seeing this album appear in April of 2014, I gleefully scooped up a copy and immediately spun it the three or four times it took to really understand it, and really like it. (After all, hasn't this always been the way on that rocky roller coaster of Tull/Anderson fandom?)

It's an undeniable testament to Ian's enduring talent -- and spirit -- that he is still driven to produce this kind of multilayered, melodic, folksy rock music. I don't know if it is rightly "metal" however, nor does it seem a proper attempt at such; and, here again, the detractors of Crest Of A Knave (of whom I am not one) might say that's a good thing. No, if metal is meant to seriously kick your a** the way Tequila does on a wild friday night, Homo Erraticus is more of a fruity, late vintage wine enjoyed in moderation ... long about a relaxed and studious saturday evening.

And now how about a little something of the meat of this album, to go with that wine?

Mr Anderson hits us right off with a song in the best of Tull traditions, namely "Doggerland." It struck me immediately as one of the more likeable tunes, but with that caveat I must also say that the album gets better from there, once you have learned to appreciate it on Ian's terms. What he is actually doing is relating to us - musically - the history of Great Britain and, in a way too, a good portion of the rest of the world. With tunes such as "Heavy Metals" (referencing the blacksmith and his trade) and "Meliora Sequamur" (treating monastic and priestly endeavors), he applies the sort of light musical touch you might expect from his two solo albums just prior to TAAB2. And with" Puer Ferox Adventus" (the story of Christianity, more or less) and "The Turnpike Inn" (an ode to the kind of nightly respite, pleasant or otherwise, our species has historically found when travelling potentially dangerous territory), things get a bit roudy in the libretto -- with some amazing flute interludes to match. It certainly sounds, in places, a lot like the Tull of old times, although by now we've learned that Florian Opahle's lyrical electric guitar passages remain the singular opiate to soothe our longing for those spectacular, searing blues-metal solos Martin Barre was so keen on delivering.

Oh well, you can't have it all, can you? On that note I will say that this is more of a love letter from Ian, thanking his worshipping throngs of long-time devotees for voting him "Prog God", than anything that will win converts. As one of that cohort of Tull fanboys-of-old, I will also promise that Homo Erraticus has rewards for those who care to listen for them. How's that for treading the safe middle ground?

CapnBearbossa | 4/5 |


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