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Jethro Tull - War Child CD (album) cover

WAR CHILD

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.33 | 797 ratings

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GruvanDahlman
4 stars Jethro Tull has been and will (most likely) forever be a favorite band of mine. From humble beginnings on "This was" with it's very blues rock approach they certainly developed over the coming years into something completely unique and excentric, thanks in no small part to the chieftain himself, Ian Anderson. The progression was swift and breathtaking. Moving across the full spectrum of music, drawing on classical, folk, jazz, hard rock they thusly took full control over the genre known as progressive rock. I dare say no other band sounded like them.

"Warchild" came right after two of progressive rocks finest achievements: "Thick as a brick" and "A passion play". In my book these two albums with sidelong suites are five stars and utterly brilliant. The problem with "Warchild", as I see it, is not the musical content but the albums it followed. The grave complexity of "A passion play" was left behind on this one which meant taking a different turn on the highway explored for the last few years. The music was instead made up of shorter tracks, a noticable accessability and lighter textures. This did not mean they abandoned the progressive genre or complexity, they simply smoothed it out a bit. The problems I had with the album, initially, was down to exactly the things previously mentioned. All of a sudden the overblown pomp and darkness of "A passion play", which seemed like the crowning achievement of Tull, was abandoned. My thirst for ever more mindblowing concept albums with loooong suites and themes seemed unsatisfied. It took me some time to come 'round.

For me "Warchild", nowadays, is just as brilliant as anything before or after. It is an album of a unique sound. True, the sidelong suits were gong but the complexity was not. Some tracks are easily digested but not less brilliant. The album holds many of the bands best tracks. In my book "Warchild" came to be a one-off in their discography. "Minstrel in the gallery" saw them returning to the elongated tracks in "Baker St. Muse" but also the highly complex in the title track. "Warchild" is a hard rocking, folky, raw and rough and witty album with quite a dose of frustrated energy (possibly due to the bad reviews "A passion play" received) that adds accordion to the procedings. They never sounded quite like this again. Anderson sings with power and gusto and the band delivers in spades.

The album had some sort of concept, so Ian Anderson hadn't quite abandoned that idea, but is more a collection of individual songs. If you don't know the concept it doesn't matter. You will enjoy it just the same. And as far as songs go I find it hard to pick out specific tracks. Despite the obvious or supposed lack of concept it holds together very well and acts as a tapestry where every motif adds to the whole experience. The air raid sirens of the title track (which opens the album) is simply genious and the song gives quite a good idea of what to expect. Slightly askew and intense it is a bit more stripped down than the sound on the previous album but that makes it all the more powerful. And yes, listen to "Queen and country". There's a song for you. Well, to be honest I could go through every song saying the same, "Listen to...", but that would be tiresome for everyone involved.

I love this album. I do. It is great and sees Jethro Tull swagger and rock out in a majestic haze of power. It's like they wanted to shut the critics up and deliver a massive blow to everyone that didn't get "A passion play". It may take some time to warm to this album if you, like me, listened to their discography from "This was", over "Stand up" and "Benefit" and so on but do not dismiss this album as a throwaway preceeding "Minstrel in the gallery", "Songs from the wood" and the brilliant "Heavy horses". Give it a go and open your ears to some truly magnificent music.

GruvanDahlman | 4/5 |

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