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Jethro Tull - A Passion Play  CD (album) cover

A PASSION PLAY

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.01 | 986 ratings

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Proghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I remembered way back in 1994 when I bought the LP how surprised I was about this album. I've heard how trashed-on this album was by the rock critics. Even what critics that trashed on their previous effort, "Thick as a Brick" was mild compared to this. Well, thanks to "A Passion Play", I find what mainstream rock critics (Lester Bangs, Robert Christgau, Dave Marsh, their ilk) not exactly reliable, especially if you are a prog rock fan. Of course if you like The VELVET UNDERGROUND or Van MORRISON's "Astral Weeks", that might be a different story.

Reviewing "A Passion Play" is like reviewing "Thick as a Brick", you can't say what's your favourite song here because it's basically one song that takes up both sides. Here the music is even more elaborate than "Brick", in which ANDERSON & Co. wanted to compete with GENTLE GIANT for the most complex and over-the-top prog rock you can think of. In fact there are several passages here that remind me of GENTLE GIANT, especially on side one. John Evan just purchased a Mini Moog synthesizer, making this the very first TULL album with synths, and it's definitely a far cry from the synth- dominated albums they did in the '80s (like "The Broadsword & the Beast" and "Under Wraps"), sounding as you expect a Mini Moog to sound (that classic analog sound, as opposed to the synthetic polyphonic synths Peter-John Vettesse used in the '80s).

Part 1 and Part 2 of this album is interrupted by a silly story called "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles", narrated by John Evan, with orchestration from David Palmer. It sounds like your silly children's book story. After that, the music resumes. The second half of the album is a bit more accessible, in which the music is more melodic. This part does sound like several different songs and you can tell where one ends and one begins (usually after John Evan does some noodling on his Mini Moog synthesizer). One section was actually included on the compilation "M.U. Best of Jethro Tull". For those who think "A Passion Play" (as well as ELP's "Tarkus" and YES' "Tales From Topographic Oceans") is the reason why punk rock happened, of course, you won't like this album. But for those wanting to hear TULL at their most progressive, this is the album to get.

4 1/2 stars

Proghead | 4/5 |

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