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Jethro Tull - War Child CD (album) cover

WAR CHILD

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.27 | 546 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Another malcontented masterpiece, this time saving some of the choicest vitriol for war. "War Child" marked a return to individual songs over side-long suites, making it a more accessible album than "A Passion Play". The tortuously tight arrangements featured here will hold much attraction for fans of GENTLE GIANT: violins, accordions, electric guitar are only some of the unique sounds stirred together in this great stew. In fact, this might be the most musically ambitious of the TULL albums, swelling the band's sound to a small orchestra by expanding the arsenal of individual musicians and presenting David PALMER's orchestrations right in the middle of the mix as a sixth player. Although the record flows well enough, the back cover is a better indication of what lies within: a wide cast of characters with little in common on the surface. One moment, Anderson is steeped in metaphors ("Bungle in the Jungle"), the next he's stepped out of character to address his critics ("Only Solitaire"). The metaphor arbitrarily changes on "Sealion" (life is now a circus, not a war or jungle), the time line slips from current day to Elizabethan era. With all this skipping around, no resolution comes on "The Third Hoorah" and "Two Fingers" the way it did on Too Old To Rock n' Roll's final tracks. Of course, it's not a certainty that "War Child" is a concept album; while the songs have a shared musical sensibility and the themes are perceived to come from the same character, it's something of an expansive and occasionally rambling criticism of life in general (a charge levelled against TULL's earlier albums as well).

"War Child"'s achievement is in its music: some of the richest in recent memory, the arrangements are consistently stunning in their execution, courting excess but impossibly balanced by admirable dexterity. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that "Skating On The Thin Ice of The New Day" is one of my favorite songs (a musical epiphany, if you will).

daveconn | 4/5 |

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