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Jethro Tull - Minstrel In The Gallery CD (album) cover

MINSTREL IN THE GALLERY

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.97 | 786 ratings

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LiquidEternity
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This album is rather highly rated, but I feel it is rather weak and uninspired compared to comparably ranked discs from this band.

Minstrel in the Gallery is considered basically the first proper album since Thick as a Brick, with the two in between being discounted for various reasons. However, I find it to be less interesting and compositionally weaker on the whole than its predecessor, Warchild. Part of the problem lies with the band trying too hard again to be progressive, the same flaw that struck down A Passion Play. Instead, we get some great songs and some songs that sound like they were put through a blender by a polar bear. The album comes across as uneven and kind of trite. The folk elements are less present again than they were in Thick as a Brick and much less so than they will be in Songs from the Wood. Rather, we get a kind of progressive hard rock at points. The flute is often quieter than it should be, as well.

The title track has some fascinating instrumentation, but the transitions are frequently painful and sometimes laughable. It almost feels like the ideas in this song should be stretched into 16 minutes and not the spread-thin pieces of Baker St. Muse. The vocal melodies in Minstrel are quite catchy, and several of the instrumental portions rank up there with Tull's all time greatest, but the track is held back by some equally bad ideas spread out in there, too, and a general sense of unpolished roughness that doesn't fit very well. Cold Wind to Valhalla is a wilder, more energetic track with a lot of great singing and band interplay. The rest of the songs till the rather long Baker St. Muse are mostly unremarkable. That track, then, has some wonderful pieces composed by the band, but it also runs a lot longer than seems warranted. The short mini-track Grace then wraps up the album.

In all, there are some really fantastic moments here, but the presence of some rather weak moments drag this album back down to mediocrity. For fans of Tull, even casual fans, but nothing particularly special on the whole.

LiquidEternity | 3/5 |

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