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Jethro Tull - Catfish Rising CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

2.60 | 418 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars Knave part III or Island part II, but in even less inventive. All three albums of this relatively stable era, and it sorts of define the sound of the classic Tull sound of the late-80's and early ?90's and none are that bad indeed, but none will rise to their top 10 albums. With a simplistic (but nice) artwork and a fairly stable line-up, CR is probably the least interesting of that trilogy, and it will also be their last album for a few years, until Tull will rebound in 96 with the much-better inspired Roots to Branches album.

Of the three albums in the present "trilogy", CR is probably the weakest, because this line-up had reached its sell-by date, and this can be viewed as Tull's most blues-rockiest album of them all (even if in itself, it's not a flaw) and this despite from a bunch of folk songs on its track list. Overall, conventional song structures and conventional songs, wordy (and over-present) lyrics, unsurprising instrumentation, uninspired lyrics seem to be the run-of-th-mill of this album, making it the "parent pauvre" of the trilogy

But if the songs are not strong in the songwriting sense, as the Tramp seems content to put out this flute-sprinkled would-be hard-rock, the album can also be honest and entertaining for non-demanding or not too fussy fans. This trilogy (COAK, RI and this one) is more convincing than their late70's-early 80's era (A until UW), but by no mean is it any inventive, or even less so innovative. The best description I can give of the music would be: a safe and conservative hard blues rock. The flute interventions, I find, have become scarce (but still present), compared to the orgiastic albums of the classic early-70's era!

A bunch of rather short songs fill up the album's first art, often trying to expand Tull's usual musical spectrum, but generally ending up reinforcing the impression of Tull's then-limitations in terms of songwriting and innovation. Even the one longer track (nearing 8-minutes) White innocence, fails to develop the much-awaited musical interplay and succession of chords that Tull fans are in right to expect from their albums. Retrospectively, I think Anderson was relying a lot on Martin Barre's guitar sound to fill-up much of the spectrum of CR.

BTW, not having invested in buying the album proper (I borrowed and rented it), I've not heard the remaster's bonus tracks either, one of them being a live version of the previous album's song? but in itself, is that not highlighting just of short on ideas the group was at the time. Despite the newer albums' increased time lengths, gone are the days where there were some seven of eight tracks too much for their annual albums. To me this Tull album trilogy sounds like business-as-usual: let's do another album although we have nothing new or really interesting to say.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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