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Ian Anderson - Thick As A Brick 2 [Aka: TAAB2] CD (album) cover


Ian Anderson


Prog Folk

3.74 | 397 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Few progressive rock albums receive as much praise as Jethro Tull's 1972 masterpiece Thick As a Brick, so Ian Anderson's decision to create a sequel to that album forty years later may have struck many fans as a bit odd. Some albums just don't need a sequel to solidify their place in history, and though it goes without saying that Thick As a Brick stands tall on its own, Ian Anderson's reflection on Gerald Bostock's life forty years in real-time after the original album makes for a fascinating concept. Anderson's lyrical wit is as poignant as ever, and the compositions here rival some of Jethro Tull's best. Although Thick As a Brick 2 may not overthrow its predecessor (as expected), it serves as an excellent companion to one of the greatest prog albums of all time.

Thick As a Brick 2 is strangely not a Jethro Tull album in name, but it is in sound. It obviously shares plenty of stylistic similarities with the original Thick As a Brick (some musical and lyrical themes are even repeated on this album), although I would argue that this bears just as much resemblance to 1973's A Passion Play - the whimsical spoken word sections especially remind me of this rather controversial concept album. Thick As a Brick 2 nicely summarizes the most productive portion of Jethro Tull's career, though; you might not hear very much from their early days as a blues rock act here, but the quirky, folk-infused progressive rock that Tull is best known for is faithfully represented on Thick As a Brick 2. Excellent flute solos, energetic riffs, and quirky arrangements are abundant, with fairly heavy use of the accordion adding a new dimension to Ian Anderson's style.

Most of the tracks on Thick As a Brick 2 are rather short, but all of them segue together to form one long composition. Anderson clearly had a surge of inspiration for the songwriting of this observation - tracks like "Banker Bets, Banker Wins", "Adrift and Dumbfounded", "A Change of Horses", and "What Ifs, Maybes, and Might Have Beens" stand as some of the man's finest compositions since the seventies'. All of Thick As a Brick 2 should be right up the alley of any classic Jethro Tull fan, and while it's clear that Anderson has aged in terms of his vocal ability and musical adventurousness, this is an immensely satisfying listen.

One could certainly criticize Thick As a Brick 2 for lacking the "bite" that classic Tull records have, but the album has enough high points to look past this shortcoming. This is a well-composed observation with an interesting concept performed by professional musicians and delivered in an expertly produced package (the album was mixed by no less than Steven Wilson). All in all, I've had a great time experiencing the sequel to one of my favorite albums, and I'd imagine that other Jethro Tull fans will find plenty to enjoy here too. Highly recommended.

J-Man | 4/5 |


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