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Jethro Tull - Stormwatch CD (album) cover

STORMWATCH

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.46 | 483 ratings

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daveconn
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I purchased "Stormwatch" years ago, at a time when every new TULL album to me was pregnant with possibilities. It quickly got under my skin, snippets of these songs wafting through my waking hours like the scent of a new lover recalled. Sadly, I'm sure many didn't share my happy discovery, so I'll temper my enthusiasm by adding that some may find in "Stormwatch" a barely perceptible waning in TULL's formidable force. IAN ANDERSON's voice had grown rougher in recent years even as his lyrical imagery improved, compensation for a slight stiffness in one instrument requiring that the surrounding players share more of the burden. This is cleverly concealed by shifting the balance to instrumental sections and utilizing a half-spoken delivery in spots. This would seem to be a concept album, as a pervading chill runs through the music. In fact, I've always fancied "Songs From The Wood", "Heavy Horses" and "Stormwatch" as a seasonal trio covering summer, fall and winter respectively. Unlike "Heavy Horses", which took the folk-rock experiment to its logical conclusion, "Stormwatch" is a heavier, harsher record. Tracks like "Dark Ages" and "Something's On The Move" push TULL deeper into hard rock territory, a land visited earlier in songs like "No Lullaby" and "Pibroch (Cap In Hand)".

Where "Heavy Horses" was a dry-sounding effort, "Stormwatch" is saturated in sound, sharing more of an affinity with "Songs From The Wood". And while patches of "Stormwatch" are brilliant -- the opening trio, the mystical incantation of "Dun Ringill" -- there are parts that noticeably sag. Still, as a final act from this talented troupe of players, missing this is to miss part of music's great mythology. ANDERSON signalled a new beginning for the band with "A", retaining only the essential Mr. MARTIN BARRE. Sadly, bassist JOHN GLASCOCK passed away during the recording of this album, stamping an added sense of finality on "Stormwatch". Though I know most of it by memory, I still return to "Stormwatch" often, to revisit "Home" or canvas imaginary skies for "Orion", to cavort tongue in cheek alongside "North Sea Oil" or treat myself to the salving sadness of David Palmer's "Elegy", and of course to once again give this lineup of TULL the warm applause they warrant.

daveconn | 3/5 |

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