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Jethro Tull - Catfish Rising CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

2.60 | 418 ratings

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2 stars There are good things about this album, I'd even go as far as to say there's nothing wrong with it. But even the most open-minded and ever faithful Jethro Tull fan will likely find a discernible lack of inspiration here.

That said, Catfish Rising - the third of what many followers consider a distinct period for the band during the late 80s along with Crest of a Knave and Rock Island - is a fair distance from their lowest point. The best thing is probably the gorgeous production that rivals Knave for clarity and fullness. And there are some rather good pennings from Ian Anderson including bar-bouncing and catchy 'This is Not Love' with faint mockings of Charlie & Craig Reid, cynical 'Occasional Demons', and 'Rocks on the Road' containing more than just the dull bluesrock approach it takes. But two-note wonders as 'Roll yer Own' or 'Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall' seem to be little more than the bump&grind these veterans could do in their sleep. Bizarre bluegrass send-up 'Thinking Round Corners' is a clean miss but 'Still Loving You Tonight' is melodious and rather nice with a crying Latin guitar, and 'Doctor to My Disease' is fair with attractive harmonies from Marty and a crisp flute. Anderson blows the dust from his mandolin for 'Like a Tall Thin Girl', the forgettable 'White Innocence' is kept alive by a wide midsection, blues chug of 'Sleeping With the Dog' recalls this group's first two records, as does kelpie's jig 'Gold Tipped Boots,Black Jacket and Tie' and very funny 'When Jesus Came to Play'.

As stated, ain't nothing wrong here, but there isn't a whole lot right about it either. Anderson makes no bones about the nature of these songs and suggests this was the last time he'd write such a straightforward rock record. I think that's probably wise, as the band never stopped rocking, it's just they've come way too far from those distant roots to make such a return necessary. Sometimes you can't go home again.

Atavachron | 2/5 |


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