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Jethro Tull - A CD (album) cover

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Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.20 | 403 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Certainly something else!

Since this was originally intended to be an Ian Anderson solo project that somehow got the Tull stamp it's no wonder that this one is a lot different than the Tull we've been used to up to this point. Let's also not forget the unfortunate loss of certain members on the album before this one and the fact that we've now been plummeted into the 80s. On this album the synths are more prominent than ever, the folk feel has been cut down considerably so that it's become more electro folk than anything, and in fact has an almost industrial air to it (but not the Rammstein kind of industrial... now wouldn't that be interesting?). There's some classic tunes on here as well as some that don't work out all to well, but in general this is a release that's just different from the rest of the Tull collection. It also seems as though they've wanted to shed the prog tag at this point in order to get something more hard rock, likely since prog was going out of style at this point. There's no sprawling epics and nothing else that could really be considered prog on here, but on the whole it's an enjoyable album.

The songs are all shorter, and some of them benefit from it. There's a couple of classics right off the bat with this album, side one is considerably stronger than side two. While this may not be Tull's best album (in the prog sense) we still have a couple of amazing songs like Fylingdale Flyer with it's excellent melodies to carry us onwards while the opening Crossfire rocks us with some hard rock with a pinch of folk at the solo. Also on side one is the excellent Black Sunday, which is arguably the crux of the album, and one of the best songs to come out of Tull's 80s period. Fast, frantic and well preformed, this is the one moment of progressive greatness on the album, and an essential song to a prog collection. If you like Anderson's fast flutes and haunting lyrics and vocal delivery then this song is for you.

Of course, side one isn't perfect. Here we also have the definitive nadir of the album in the form of Working Jon, Working Joe which is just plain skipable. Voice fx on Anderson don't help how weak the chorus of the song is with the quirky synths becoming nothing but an annoyance.

Side two proves to be not quite as good as side one, but maybe more consistent with no songs to really drag it down. Each one is quite frantic in pace and Jobson continues on his good job of playing those synths. All the songs here are rather short and some of them could have stood to be longer simply to help get the idea across, but then they would have done that if they really wanted to make a 'progressive' record. Hard rock again prevails in songs like Protect and Survive and Batteries Not Included with a pressing synth to help drive them. An excellent prog-like moment in The Pine Martin's Jig as a fun instrumental that brings us to the final song which finishes off the album well.

This is a good album that Tull fans will certainly like more than those who don't fancy the band. By prog standards this one gets 2.5 flyers out of 5 with Black Sunday being the majority of that mark. However, if you fancy yourself a hard rock fan who doesn't mind synths or somewhat of a Tull freak then you can easily add another half star to that one. This one really is for fans and collectors, but they'll get a big kick out if it.

Queen By-Tor | 2/5 |

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