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Jethro Tull - Crest Of A Knave CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.23 | 587 ratings

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Mr. Soot Gremlin
3 stars This is currently the most recent Jethro Tull album I own, and besides Broadsword it is the only one from the band's 80s period, which from what I have read and heard was nowhere near as great as their late 60s-70s work. Still, this is a very satisfying and interesting album because of its much different feel. The songs are much more guitar-centered and have a harsher hard rock feel than stuff like TAAB with an obvious classical and folk influence. Even Ian Anderson's voice is much more rock-like and even more American sounding (as a result of surgery that dramatically lowered his range and vocal style. He manages brilliantly anyway, and I love his voice on this album as much as I love his voice on any earlier Tull album). Still, there are elements of the old Tull sound that I and many others love, and musically there are some great moments. "Budapest" especially is very interesting and lets Ian and Martin both get some really great solo time. On songs like "Farm on the Freeway" (one of my personal favorites from this album) and "Raising Steam" (the odd but kind of fun closing song), Martin Barre's guitar is extra important, and is pretty much entirely responsible for giving the album the hard rock feel. Thankfully it works, because he's a phenomenal guitarist.

There are some weird, weird moments on the album, which I find weird because they sound so... ordinary. I personally like the Jethro Tull that gets a little weird, has unique lyrics and that great, folky sound. But on this album, I find myself listening to songs like "She Said She Was A Dancer", "The Waking Edge", and "Raising Steam" and being struck by just how commercial and kind of sterile they sound. Not to say there's no life to them; all the songs are engaging, but the feeling is different than the Tull I love. Even "Budapest", which is probably the album's best song, is plagued with weak lyrics and some boring instrumental sections. That is why Crest of a Knave is a solid, even brilliant album compared to many other hard rock/prog albums out there, yet cannot truly affect me as much as an albums like TAAB or Minstrel in the Gallery did and still do affect me. In short, Crest of a Knave is great but might take a few listens for someone unfamiliar with this new sound to appreciate it.

Mr. Soot Gremlin | 3/5 |


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