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Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick CD (album) cover

THICK AS A BRICK

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.63 | 2981 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Lupton
5 stars Jethro Tull's follow up to Aqualung was their first truly progressive rock album and a concept one at that. Aqualung had its progressive elements and even a loose concept per side but this time Ian Anderson and Co went the whole hog and produced what in effect was a single continuous piece of music.

Technically this album is a major achievement for the band and is far superior to their previous efforts.The album starts off quite gently with the famous acoustic introduction (the single "edit" that graces virtually every Jethro Tull compilation) before suddenly exploding into action at the three minute mark with Martin Barre's huge stabbing chords interspersed with Ian Anderson's forceful acoustic guitar strumming. It reminds me slightly of the way the band comes crashing in near the beginning of My God off the Aqualung album.

What follows is close to twenty minutes of some of the most dynamic playing ever committed to vinyl . The ever changing rhythm and tempo changes along with the interplay between Martin Barre's spirited electric guitar and Ian Anderson's flute riffing is quite exhilarating. The whole enterprise is held together by John Evan's Hammond organ.One of my favorite sections is his jaunty solo that introduces a new musical theme where Ian Anderson sings "I've come down from the upper class...".Interestingly, that theme (edit#4) is included on the Repeat Best of Volume 2 compilation. Even out of context as with the familiar introductory edit works surprisingly well as a stand alone piece of music.

Side 2 basically carries on where Side 1 left off. Original themes are reprised and a couple of new ones are introduced at the four minute mark. Overall the second side is similarly dynamic but less melodic and somewhat downbeat in comparison to the first side. There are also a few jarring moments where the band seem to enter into King Crimson free jazz territory at the three minute mark which really does not suit their style. While ultimately less memorable the second side at least ends on familiar turf with the reprise of the original theme which helps bring the whole affair to a logical conclusion.

What really stands out for me as much as the composition is the overall production . The band were really tight and the sound really gelled when they recorded this album especially with new recruit Barriemore Barlow on drums and percussion and the use of Hammond organ instead of the somewhat antiquated piano helps give the music a slicker dynamic. Thick As A Brick is one of Progressive Rock's crowning glories.

Lupton | 5/5 |

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