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Jethro Tull - Crest Of A Knave CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.23 | 587 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's a good thing someone jump started these boys.

Jethro Tull's 1987 return to form is likely one of the most controversial albums to date. While other albums past other bands' primes have been more widely discussed it seems that the progressive community is split into two groups when it comes to this very album: Those who think that the album is a wonderful return and those who think the album is a pile of rubbish to be burned with Under Wraps. While the album certainly is different than Tull's classic work, there's no doubt that this is good stuff and worthy of multiple spins.

Another comment thrown the way of this album is the comparison to Dire Straits. While it's very obvious here that Ian ANDERSON's voice and BARRE's style of guitar have somewhat drifted towards and gravitated around Mark Knopler, there's still that Tull charm to the music. Mixing the old with the new, this album actually comes off as quite fresh, and being a big Straits fan anyways, this album was even better. Those who don't like Dire Straits may take offense to what Anderson was trying to accomplish here, but it's hard to deny that in the midst of the 80s, this album certainly helped the band survive.

Then the album takes more criticism over winning ''Best Metal/Hard Rock Performance'' for the year, beating Metallica (to the boos and taunts of the crowd) for the award. This is a fairly confusing ordeal, since even Ian Anderson himself has admitted to being confused by the nomination and stated that it was more of an award for a group that had never won an award before.

The album does start, however, just as it's award would suggest. Steel Monkey is a hard rocking, mechanical monster that utilizes the Tull's heavier side. Great for the rock fans, proggers may be put off a bit by this. Fear not! The next group of songs easily makes up for those who were turned off by the opener. This is, however, where the Dire Straits comparisons kick in. Farm On The Freeway is a great slow song with some quick, heavy guitar parts mixed in just to soothe the apatite of the heavier rocking people. A great mix regardless, this is one of the standouts of the album. Jump Start is another quick, high-paced song that's quite good. Said She Was A Dancer is a good slow track with a fairly funny story behind it. Dogs In The Midwinter follows closely, again, behind the faster songs on the album.

From here on in, however, the album is pure gold... and it was good before! Budapest is an excellent epic that ANDERSON describes as ''One of the band's best songs''. Really, this song is a throwback to the 70s while keeping some of the new style introduced on the album. Mountain Men starts off like late generation Pink Floyd and kicks into gear a couple minutes in. This is likely the next best song standing next to Budapest. Meanwhile, Raising Steam ends the album as it began... heavily.

Perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, this album really is something else. 4 stars, excellent addition to any prog collection. Don't expect classic era Tull, but do expect some great music that really takes five or ten listens to really ''get''. Once the album is ''got'' however, it's likely to stay in your cd player for a good long time. Recommended to Tull fans, fans who want to hear where the ''hard-rock'' side of Tull comes from, Dire Straits fans (of course) and anyone who has little faith in 80s music. Great album, great return to form.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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