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Jethro Tull - Roots To Branches  CD (album) cover

ROOTS TO BRANCHES

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.64 | 342 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Wow! I'm totally impressed by this album! This is easily the best Jethro Tull album since Heavy Horses in 1978, almost 20 years earlier. And I would even say that Roots To Branches is one of the better Jethro Tull albums of all time. This album is full of eastern influences that really sound fresh and exciting within Tull's usual hard rock setting. On the previous two Tull albums, Fish Rising and Rock Island, it almost felt like the band were on auto pilot, pounding out song after song, album after album without having their hearts truly in it. Not so on Roots To Branches. Here the band feels rejuvenated and reenergized! They also left behind the generic bluesy hard rock of those previous albums in favour of a return to progressive rock. Flutes and keyboards once again take centre stage in Tull's sound competing for attention with Martin Barre's great guitar work which is more inspired here than in a long, long time. Also the influences are more varied ranging from jazz to folk and especially eastern flavoured folk music. And the most important factor of all: Ian Anderson once again wrote great songs, easily his best set of songs since the 70's.

Is there anything to complain about? Well, not really. The vocals are among Ian's best; the lyrics are among his best; the keyboards are varied and well- played and show a perfect blend between classic keyboards like Hammond organ and grand piano and more modern keyboards; bass and drums are very well- played; the guitar work is great, a good mix of acoustic and electric; the flutes are varied and excellent and they feature more prominently in the sound than in a long time; the production is flawless; the cover art is very nice. If I must complain about something I would say that the album is slightly too long. A whole hour is a very long time to keep the listener interested. At the time you reach the middle of the song Wounded, Old And Treacherous you slowly get the feeling that it will only be more of the same from now on. However, this impression proves to be mistaken when the rest of the album slows the tempo down considerably with three very good ballads.

I am giving this album four solid stars and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to discover post- 70's Jethro Tull.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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