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Jethro Tull - War Child CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.31 | 751 ratings

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Italian Prog Specialist
3 stars A somewhat strange album, which I bitterly disliked at first. With time and patience some quality material emerged out of it, to my great relief. I sense the lack of direction after the two epics TAAB and APP in the music. Many different approaches which just runs out of steam, or more precisely, just lack the energy to make some. Perhaps it's the result of the uncertainty surrounding their next album, most prominently its nature and concept.

Well, this is what we got. War Child. Bland, a little experimental and incoherent. Yet surprisingly great tracks in the mixture. Here, the band (or most likely Anderson) decides to use saxophone and accordion for that extra power in the music. Personally, I've never been the biggest fan of saxophone, and it feels really out of lpace in Tull's more folk-oriented instrumentation. I can live with the accordion though. From time to time it's really enjoyable. But this is all just matters of taste. What fails on this album is, surprisingly, the classic powerful pieces, mastered to perfection on aforementioned albums. Hard to adjust to shorter song lengths, perhaps? The title track, Queen and Country, The Third Hoorah and to some extent Two Fingers suffer from this syndrome, aiming for something way bigger than they achieve. No intensity, presence or emotion involved. Bungle in the Jungle is the poster child of these problems. Bored, anyone?

It is when turning to their roots Tull finds those vital ingredients that make things work once again. The folkish acoustic guitar on songs such as ladies, in perfect marriage with Anderson's flute and heartfelt vocal delivery is in fact top class music. And here the presence of orchestrated strings feels perfectly in place. Other light, but lofty efforts include the charming Skating Away (On the Thin Ice of a New Day) and the short and sweet Only Solitaire. It's great to hear that the confidence somehow shines through again on these tracks. In the sometimes very heavy Back-Door Angels there's more 'oldies'-feeling. Could have been something out of Benefit, with great soloing from Martin Barre. One should not miss the varied and slightly quirky Sealion either (love the accordion!).

Without any doubt, this is a transitional album, a vacuum between to great albums. Not recommended unless you are a fan of the band, and if you are, and want to hear more of these giants, look elsewhere. But when you've done that, War Child might be a nice album after all. There are hidden gems to be found.

//Linus W

LinusW | 3/5 |


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