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

THICK AS A BRICK

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.64 | 2302 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
5 stars Rating number 501 - well, here we go.

'Thick as a Brick' is a bonafide masterpiece - it is Jethro Tull's magnum opus, the best thing the band has done.

The one long track that spans 2 vinyl sides begins with the subtle flute and story telling vocals of Ian Anderson. The newspaper style liner notes give us the insight to what it is all about holding the key to the true meaning of the album. I adore concept albums so I will once again indulge here. The concept centres on Gerald Bostock who wrote a poem called er....... Thick as a Brick, funnily enough. He did this to win a contest sponsored by a mock organisation called the Society for Literary Advancement and Gestation (yes, that's right.... SLAG). The result of Gerald reading his vision over the BBC radio culminates in his disqualification and he is declared as in desperate need for psychiatric therapy.

Is this Anderson's stab at the prog movement itself where lyrics were becoming more surreal, following from the psychedelia of the late 60s? In any case, the story continues to follow the progress of poor troubled Gerald as the band 'Jethro Tull' have put his poem to music and presented rather strange album. Anderson has stated in an interview that he is trying to capture the alienation and dehumanisation of a young child surrounded by bureaucratic do- gooders who rob them of childhood innocence. In this he attacks the English public school system in the same as way as Pink Floyd (The Wall), and to a lesser extent early Genesis. Thick as a Brick attacks conformity head on and the suppression of autonomy or individualism.

Within this framework is an incredible mixture of serene acoustic passages, juxtaposed with monster rock riffs and scintillating flute as only Anderson can play. The album should be listened to in its entirety to appreciate the intricate structure and heavy multi-layered instrumentation. It is better than 'Passion Play' that tends to get bogged down in its conceptualisation and complexity. Instead 'Brick' is a masterpiece of musical virtuosity and outstanding lyrical content. It is quintessential Jethro Tull and never disappoints even on the 20th listen.

One of the best prog albums of all time.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |

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