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Jethro Tull - Roots To Branches CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.60 | 557 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars One of the band's best!

Forget what may have been said during the 90s about Jethro Tull being washed up or out of ideas. This album shows that Anderson and crew had yet to cease being creative, and some of the band's most diverse work took shape on Roots To Branches. An entirely new breed of Tull was at work, here, and surprisingly it didn't suck! Middle-Eastern and Asian influences were quite heavy and somehow they married with the Folk-Rock stylings in a way that brought a freshness and excitement to the band's music that many had begun to believe dead for good. While there are a few moments here and there that don't quite match the overall quality of this album, it's fair to say that new life had been breathed into Jethro Tull. Who or what is responsible for that specifically, I honestly don't know, but somehow these guys were able to release a work that many consider to be among their very best.

To go along with the folk-meets-middle-eastern vibe, plenty of modern, hard rock guitar work can be heard here, but it isn't intrusive i the least; everything just seems to fit together quite nicely. The compositions are complex and enjoyable, and the playing is superb. The production (something I normally wouldn't give two tosses about) is worth pointing out here, because it may be the brightest and clearest Jethro Tull has ever sounded on record. Everything about this release just has this new car smell to it that assures me not to expect anything. Surprises around every corner, and every band member on top of their game. Sounds like a worthy listen to me!

Some people have commented that Ian Anderson's voice isn't as strong or full of inflection like it used to be. I don't share that opinion at all. Not only is he singing better than ever, but his acoustic guitar and flute playing is quite memorable throughout. Some tracks are more worth hearing than others, but they all have merit. Some of my favorite songs on Roots To Branches are the title track, ''Rare and Precious Chain'', ''Valley'', ''Dangerous Veils'', ''Beside Myself'', ''Wounded, Old and Treacherous'' and ''Another Harry's Bar''. All of the tracks, and those songs in particular, send my heart soaring to their creative, melodic bliss.

I think the best way I can sum up in one my sentence my impression of this album, it would be that I believe Roots To Branches is one of the most truly eclectic releases Jethro Tull have produced to date, and if you're willing to take a small risk and pick it up, chances are you'll end up becoming more and more fond of it every time you listen. While you may have a hell of a time accepting how much the band's sound has changed by this point, I think you'd be hard pressed to honesty say this isn't good music in and of itself. Sure, it's a little different, but this is Prog Rock! Different is good! Progression in a band's sound should always be commended, whether the end result pleases us or not. It's just fortunate that, with Roots To Branches, this band managed to accomplish both.

Very happy listening.

JLocke | 4/5 |


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