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Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses CD (album) cover

HEAVY HORSES

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.00 | 799 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

KyleSchmidlin
4 stars If I were submitting this review anywhere but ProgArchives.com, I'd give it 5 stars, no questions asked. The only reason the rating is lowered to 4 is because this is a site dealing especially with progressive rock. I might say The Abyss is my favorite movie, but would I give it 5 stars on a site that reviews Westerns? And indeed, Heavy Horses is not only my favorite Tull album, it's easily among my very favorite period.

The album displays in uncanny warmth we haven't seen from Ian Anderson in a long, long time, maybe not ever. Parts of Thick as a Brick match the whimsy here (like the "with their jock straps pinching, they slouch to attention" part) but Heavy Horses is, both in music and mood, quite lightweight.

But lightweight does NOT mean insubstantial. The melodies are as strong as at any point in Tull's career. Each and every one of these songs is distinctive and hummable, except for maybe Journeyman, but that one's hardly bad. The title track offers one of Tull's most intense moments, when the light acoustic backdrop transforms into a thundering stampede of heavy horses (a real animal, actually). Moths is gorgeous, Weathercock has some of my favorite lyrics despite their meaninglessness - there does come a time where the way words sound together is cool enough, and lines like "Do you simply reflect changes, in the patterns of the sky / or is it true to say the weather heeds, the twinkle in your eye?" are enough to do it for me.

The lyrics are not so hateful and spiteful, but the barbs are not totally removed, either. One of my favorite Tull lines appears in the bonus track, Living In These Hard Times: "The times are hard and the credits are lean, and they toss and they turn in sleep / and the line they take is the line they make, but it's not the line they keep". Seems even more relevant now, with times being hard once again everywhere. And I can't help but crack up when, on Broadford Bazaar, Ian says "Where once stood oil rigs so phallic, there's only swear words in Gaelic, to say at the Broadford Bazaar".

A great, great album, a masterpiece, and one that's every bit as good as background music as it is deserving of an active, attentive listen. Again, the only reason I give it a 4 instead of a 5 is because it's not as "progressive" as some of their other stuff, at least on most people's definition of "progressive". But these are certainly not simple, three-chord, verse-chorus-verse-chorus offerings. There is a lot to like here. A 5-star album, only appearing as 4 because of the context.

KyleSchmidlin | 4/5 |

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