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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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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

After the catastrophic UW albums and its ill-advised and un-welcomed 80's experimentations, Tull came back with an acceptable (all things being relative here); but definitely nothing to scream "genius" about. Indeed after a "tentative" trilogy (A, TB&TB and UW), the mad flauter decided to play it safe and make it a sort of apology to older fans (not that there were legions new fans to alienate, anyway) and in the process managed to find a way to the heart of a new generation of fan that hadn't heard their older cousin's album collection. But the least we can say is that Anderson decided to play it safe, and he certainly didn't over-reach himself or over-stretch his songwriting talents with this "minimum syndical" album. Behind a suggestive artwork (not really confirming its promise in the musical content), the album is a fairly conventional one, in spite of its obviously commercial compromisitions.

Besides the ZZTop-esque (Eliminator-era) Steel Monkey opener (which cheapens the album) and the closing Raising Steam as well, the album has a few good tracks, like the slow-starting Farm On The Freeway (acceptable, despite the easy formula) and the then-usually-long Budapest (somewhat worthy of Minstrel's Gallery, but really nothing more), and Jump Start. Midwinter, Mountain Men (despite a cool flute passage), and the bonus track Part Of The Machine (the chinese/bamboo flute is a little twee, methinks) are standard Tull tracks; but none of these manage to raise the waters above lukewarm temperatures. There is however definitely more good stuff/tracks on Knave than in their previous three (four if you count the catastrophic solo album) with Ian being an intelligent man and realizing the error of his ways in the early decade, but also taking minimal risks in the process. Unlike many, I don't see the Dire Straits sonics on the present album. Absolute bores or clunkers include Dancer, Waking Edge and the two ZZ Top outtakes

Sure, Crest is quite an improvement on their last three atrocious albums (A, TB&TB, UW), and comes close or equals Stormwatch, which is probably the album it resembles the most, IMHO(minus the string arrangements). In conclusion, COAK is somewhat of a return to business after a long lay-off but remains nothing to write home about. Crest doesn't bring anything new under the sun... At best, with a better (70's) production, this would've been elbowing Minstrel, WC, SW and maybe even APP, Woods and Horses. I know of a few kids who started on Tull on this one and think highly of it, but as I made them discover the early stuff, they came partly to their senses but this was more than a generation gap: I had vinyl record and they were stealing CD's so this comfort of listening and use issues came also in their appreciation of this one. Well, at least this knave doesn't f**k up.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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