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UNDER WRAPS

Jethro Tull

Prog Folk


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Jethro Tull Under Wraps  album cover
2.21 | 346 ratings | 44 reviews | 3% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Lap Of Luxury (3:36)
2. Under Wraps #1 (4:03)
3. European Legacy (3:23)
4. Later, That Same Evening (3:53)
5. Saboteur (3:32)
6. Radio Free Moscow (3:42)
7. Astronomy (3:37)
8. Tundra (3:39)
9. Nobody's Car (4:09)
10. Heat (5:37)
11. Under Wraps #2 (2:15)
12. Paparazzi (3:48)
13. Apogee (5:29)
14. Automotive Engineering (4:05)
15. General Crossing (4:02)

Total Time: 58:50

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Anderson / vocals, flute, acoustic guitar, drums
- Martin Barre / electric guitar
- Dave Pegg / bass
- Peter-John Vettese / keyboards, programming

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
Edit this entry

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JETHRO TULL Under Wraps ratings distribution


2.21
(346 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(3%)
3%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(8%)
8%
Good, but non-essential (21%)
21%
Collectors/fans only (38%)
38%
Poor. Only for completionists (31%)
31%

JETHRO TULL Under Wraps reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars 1984's UNDER WRAPS is a lamentably limp, lackluster album from one of my normally favourite bands. I own a copy, but simply couldn't force myself to play it more than two or three times. There's way too much cold synth, and a glaring absence of the usual emotion, wit, good songwriting or conviction. Eminently forgettable: there are no essential tracks here -- not even any good ones.

What the heck happened? One for the dustbin!

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#16733) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 22, 2003

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
1 stars Get a Britney Spears Lp, destroy the Cd and this one along, throw away the J T sleeve but keep the Spears one as it is definitely more valuable (much cuter, anyway) than this completely awful JT album. This is J T making a try to make new wave with the [&*!#]ty synths and rhythm boxes of the times. Even for the die-hard JT fan this should be avoided at all costs as this pitiful album is no accident and putting the blame on Vettese is really shunning the problem: Anderson's first solo album that came out around that time was the same crap. The concert of the period that I saw was slightly less awful as the drums sounded sampled , the awful digital synth covering everything possible. No wonder they took a four year break , as Knave will go back to Broadsword without alluding to this horrible blunder

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#16721) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 05, 2004

Review by Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin & Razor Guru
1 stars Peter John Vettese's second album with JT & most of the blame for the dire quality of the album can be lain square at his door; he had watered down JT's sound on 'Broadsword', but still left them with a good album - unfortunately, Ian Andersen seems to have given him full rein on this album, as he did on his solo album released at the same time - result? Euro pap at it's worst! Avoid at all costs - this album has no redeeming features whatsoever!

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Send comments to Jim Garten (BETA) | Report this review (#16722) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Compared to the previous "Broadsword & the beast", this record is quite more keyboards oriented. Plus, the electric guitar sounds more metallic, and the drums are programmed. Actually, most of the songs sound like Anderson's solo album "Walk into the light". It sounds like "I do not like this record" but it is rather the opposite: I find the compositions very addictive and PLEASANT to hear. Vettese's keyboards style is like on "Walk into the light": nervous, varied, elaborated and very futuristic. Anderson's lead vocals are excellent, and he uses many intonations; his flute parts are excellent too (how can he badly play the flute anyway?). There are also some interesting acoustic guitar parts. It is interesting to notice how well Pegg's bass is inserted through all that nervous digital music; the keyboards provide many rhythms too. I must admit that the repetitive hammer sounding drums may irritate more than one listener, but I find that it fits very well with the nervous keyboards. ALL the tracks are excellent and rather catchy.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#16736) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004

Review by daveconn
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars An inflexible, mechanical opus whose brisk digital bitstream buffeted my dreamcraft a bit rudely in the beginning. Over many, many sittings I've finally spied the charm of IAN ANDERSON's cold war fantasy, though the fact remains that "Under Wraps" is one of TULL's most inhospitable works this side of Rock Island. The troubling point for longtime listeners is the increased role that electronics play in the storytelling; a song like "Astronomy" (not available on elpee) sounds more like Thomas DOLBY than anything on Broadsword. "Under Wraps" #2 at least offers a tantalizing picture of the soul in the machine, and may be the first foothold from which fans scale the slick digital face presented them. That was my experience anyway. Soon, I was detecting all sorts of great music in the crevices of "Later That Same Evening", "Radio Free Moscow", "European Legacy" et cetera. As it turned out, TULL hadn't changed the way they write their music, just the instruments they use to play it. Synthesizers and electronic drums (provided mostly by Mr. A this time) leap in and out of the mix the same way that a mandolin or portative organ might have earlier. The result is more jarring and less tantalizing than earlier efforts, but altogether not so different otherwise (I'm paying myself by the word today). Stack up "Nobody's Car" against "Taxi Grab", "Heat" against "Beastie", and it's the same genius at work.

It'll be small consolation at first as you wonder where the magic went, but it's there, hidden under the sheets and ultimately worth the detective work it takes to find it. Since I haven't heard Walk Into Light, I can't compare the two, though it's not a stretch to imagine "Under Wraps" as a solo album from IAN since he probably could have achieved the same results on his own. I mention that only because "Under Wraps" seems to exist on the periphery of the TULL discography, like Pluto a planetary body at apogee to the band's core sound (think I'll give myself bonus points for working the word "apogee" in here). Note that the cassette adds two extra tracks, the compact disc two more. The elpee contains the core of the story and the best music, but since this is TULL we're talking about, the more the merrier.

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Send comments to daveconn (BETA) | Report this review (#16727) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 01, 2004

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Excuse me, but while I can accept that different people have various opinions about anything, there are some simple facts that are necessary to admit. Admiring very much the career of JT from "This Was" to "Stormwatch", I really wonder how can anyone give this extremely bad album a five star rating?! I bought it immediately upon its release back in 1984 and suffered badly during the repeated attempt to listen through it. I remeber I played it only two times ever, before deciding to get rid of it ASAP. Luckily a friend was a completist die-hard JT fan who did not mind the horrible synthetic sound, rythm machines, stupid lyrics and pointless songs by the old weary I. Anderson who made the typical mid- 1980s "prog mistake" - trying to sound "modern" in the new romantic era, without offering any substantively new ideas. Absolutely negligable! Avoid at all cost!!!

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#16745) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 24, 2004

Review by NetsNJFan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Continuing Ian Anderson's 1980's fixation with electronics/digital synthesizers, Jethro Tull released "Under Wraps" in 1984, a sequel to 1980s awful "A". This album is even worse. Despite some memorable melodies, and the one good track (the thankfully acoustic "Under Wraps #2"), this album has not held up very well at all. While it may have shocked the Tull faithful in 1984 with its slick euro-dance-pop production (yes, it is still Tull), it fares even worse now with critical hindsight, and sounds quite dated. Peter John-Vettesee's synths are simply awful. Furthermore, this also was the lyrical nadir of Ian Anderson, as he abandoned the pastoral english folk motifs of his previous albums (which worked so beautifully), and crafted a sort-of concept album around the cold-war. The distinctly European dance-flavor of the album is hard to stomach, but surprisingly, it fared well commerically (in Europe, it was a failure in America). Of course no Tull completionist would be without this album, but all others avoid - 2 stars.

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Send comments to NetsNJFan (BETA) | Report this review (#37392) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2005

Review by Jimbo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Why oh why?? Jethro Tull has always been one of my favorite bands, but certainly not by the means of this album. Under Wraps is definitely JT's weakest effort, a lazy, uninspired, boring attempt to renew their sound. I don't mind if a band changes their overall sound - if they do it well. However, Tull did not. Peter-John Wettese was the worst thing that ever happened to Tull, although he's not the only one to blame of this terrible album.

With all the modern digital synthesizers and electronic drum machines at use, Tull abandoned their roots and tried to do slick and "modern" Euro-pop music. Needless to say, prog fans will find nothing of interest here. Under Wraps is also one of the most dated albums I've ever heard, perhaps in the 80's this sounded exciting and modern, nowadays most people would probably find it terribly funny and ridiculous.

All tracks except one are totally forgettable, the acoustic "Under Wraps #2" is the only positive thing I've to say about this album, it's a nice track. Oh! another positive thing; the flute. Although it's used quite rarely, it sounds fine.

Overall, Not even for collectors, please save your money and time and get the worthwile Tull albums. This is not one of those. Thank god for the 1995 "Roots To Branches" as it restored my faith in Tull.

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Send comments to Jimbo (BETA) | Report this review (#39660) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2005

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In September 1984, after nine months of recording at Anderson's home studio, Jethro Tull released their most controversial album since A Passion Play: UNDER WRAPS. Working with new electronic used by Ian (together with Peter-John Vettese) for the first time on his solo album Walk Into Light (1983), was taken much further than one would have dared to imagine!

Not true that the flute seems to be completely out of place! It's in Walk Into Light, in fact, that it happens, due to the Ian free experimentation in his solo album. This last, if it's not evidently a "Tull album", whilst being, understandable, a Ian's type one.In progarchives we have not to judge hurried a work making a chart of all albums of that composer or band. We have instead to value the single one for its strict characteristics! In this way someone could legitimately argue that Aqualung not merit the 5 stars of the Masterpiece of PROGRESSIVE music (however I don't agree with all these reviewers yet!).In particular Under Wraps has offered the band members - Anderson, Barre-good electric guitar played, Vettese and Pegg - the time and opportunity to experiment with new forms and 'soundscapes' and work more intensively together in the recording process then had ever been the case before.That's nor mean that UW is not a "Tull album"! In fact here it's only the esterion part to change (instrumentation, not the fundamental arrangements' Tullian basis). The contributions of Martin Barre, Peter Vettese and Dave Pegg led to a very innovative and powerful album brimmed with original musical ideas. The album was recorded with the aid of a Linn drum machine, instead of a proper drummer which might be the main reason why there is no "live feel" to it. That's the ONLY thing I disapprove in this album!!!!! Sorry Ian, I don't manage to listen to you drumming, expecially with that electronic kind!! Only fter the completion of "Under Wraps" Doane Perry was invited to join the band as percussionist.

Most of the songs have a "spy" theme - as Barbara Espinoza states in her book "Driving In Diverse": "contrived espionage and intrigue abound" (1999, p. 89). I for one assume this not to be coïncidal. Ian loves to read spy novels. When this album was to come, it realized that the international political situation of the early eighties had been the context for this album. To put it more specific: the occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet army in 1979, the meddling of the Soviets with the internal affairs of that country and the political reaction of the Western world (remember Reagan's Star Wars programme) caused the LAST BIG SPASM OF THE COLD WAR. In addition to these events there were several so called "spy scandals" in the early eighties, such as defecting agents on both sides and double agents revealing "their" secrets.

Like "A Passion Play" eleven years before, this album also divided the Tull-followers into two groups: either they loved it for its inventivity and its energy (in this group am I) or they hated it for sounding too artificial and not sounding anything like "their Tull".

Later, That Same Evening is a good one, one of the many with a "spy" theme. The construction of the lyrics and the imagery applied make the song almost film-like - as if one if watching a spy movie. This technique of visualisation and putting stories into a romantic setting can be traced in most of this album's songs. "Hard - it was hard to keep my mind on what she had to sell": is referenced to industrial or military espionage, esp. the illegal selling and purchasing of classified documents, plans, drawings, Another

Saboteur is another aspect of the "spy" theme: the hitman or hired killer, who eliminates people and destroy "hot" buildings for money.

Radio Free Moscow's title alludes to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Free Europe, Inc., was established in 1949 as non-profit, private corporations to broadcast news and current affairs programs to Eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain ("promoting democratic values and institutions by disseminating factual information and ideas").

Nobody's Car is a film-like song breathes an atmosphere of threat, of being watched and followed constantly by agents who hide themselves in anonimity: "Mr. No-one at the wheel of Nobody's car." "Black Volga following me". Several models of Volga limousines were used in the Soviet Union by communist party officials, diplomats, and - as in this song - by KGB-agents.

Under Wraps 2 is a reprise of Under Wraps 1, with the same lyrics, however this time in an acoustic setting. It's the only acoustic song on the album and might be included to give a warmer, different kind of expression.

Apogee ("It's apogee") (or "apogeum"): the moon or ARTIFICIAL SATELLITES are orbiting the earth elliptically.

Other good ones are: General Crossing ("generalski"!!!), Heat and Tundra. Excellent 2005 remastered edition with the full video version of Lap Of Luxury. I hope you enjoyed too!

3.5 stars

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#45882) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars How would you react to an album where the band changed his style and moved forward their music into another direction? Resist? Accept? Adapt? It's really up toyou. For me personally this album did not come into my attention at all because by the time it was released I was still amazed with Marillion's "Script for A Jester's Tear" and "Fugazi" which dominated my Fisher Cassette Tape Deck player. It was the same year "Misplaced Childhood" was released. Tull was not in my what so called "Wish List" because I was so engrained with Marillion. I was totally Marillionized! But hey . Tull is one of great prog bands coming out from the seventies with powerful albums like "Aqualung", "Thick As A Brick" or the masterpiece "A Passion Play". So I did purchase the cassette, plaed it once and stored at my cassette rack and never been played again.

When digital era came out, I upgraded this album into CD (altogether with other seventies prog bands) without knowing the music quality of this album. I trusted that JT would never make any bad album. With CD format I did try to enjoy this album but failed to do so because I was not into the kind of prog folk music being turned into industrial electronic world. To me this is the kind of Ian Anderson's solo or JT "A" album. As compared to "A" this album is weaker. Conceptually, this album talked about issues on the Cold War so the songs are full of sentiments expressed which were topical for the time. As far as Jethro Tull's music standard, this is inferior than its other albums. But because this is prog band, I still keep the CD with me. That's why this album deserves two stars (for completionist, like me). Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#75823) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
4 stars The greatest single attribute that makes prog so appealing is that theirs not always complete total consensus , one way or another. Some hate YES' Tales from Topographic Oceans while other adore it . Same for Tull's A Passion Play and countless other examples , all densely described on this site. This much maligned and abused album has been a punching bag , for hard core fans especially, ever since it appeared back in "New Wave" days, mainly because it dared to "sound different" , eschewing the medieval folk- troubadour approach for an experimental synth, e-drums/programming loaded set of songs which perhaps would of been better received as an Ian Anderson addition to his solo "Walk in the Light" , as both deal with Cold War issues (hence the icy electronics) , just like Camel's Stationary Traveller. Both are albums I deeply enjoy, irrespective of their other, more classical releases, before and after. So, I must admit, I liked Under Wraps a lot (Proggers are a rebelious lot , wot?) and I agree with Ian Anderson that the songs and the melodies are top-notch, but the arrangements are what make Tull purists cringe. But we would all be pretty "Thick as A Brick" if we expect rehashes of the masterpieces (Incidently, Anderson only recently started to rekindle his love for this "Jewel") . Many love Heavy Horses and Stormwatch, two albums I have a hard time getting into. Intricate music affects intricate listeners in very different ways, where mood, atmospherics and attitude can polarize with utter intensity.That's the beauty of music= how personal does it get???. I will grant credence to the argument that the percussives would of benefited from a real drummer , adding a warmer, less plastic palette of sound. Maybe one day. I do not like comparing albums because its like rating your kids, each has their own personality, its quirks and its character. To slam an album because it went off on an unappealing or unpopular tangent is unfair especially with Prog where experimentation (failed or succesful) is in the ear of the beholder. In closing, Under wraps is light years more entertaining than anything on the radio since the 80s anyway. Love it or hate it, its still good music. I have opened my umbrella , ready for the downpour of derision from the ultra fanatics. I'm Under Wraps! 4 "Q" spy gadgets

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Send comments to tszirmay (BETA) | Report this review (#87492) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars UNDER CRAPS UNDER CRAPS UNDER CRAPS

One could have though that the "A" experience was an accident in the wonderful serie of albums the Tull had produced over the time. They did produce a good album after that ("Broadsword") so, shall we get another good one again ?

Unfortunately, the answer is no : we get the same crappy synth / pop / disco songs as with "A".

No highlights on this album

No great fluting

No melody

No good instrumental sections

No nothing.

Do not buy this one. The worst of all is that I bought it twice (yes, man : I forgot I already had purchased it - probably because I only had listened to it very few times). And there is no way I would offer this copy since I really don't want neither to offend anyone, neither to give a poor impression of such a great band as Tull.

What did you do again to us Ian ?

One star.

UNDER CRAPS UNDER CRAPS UNDER CRAPS

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#108281) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, January 21, 2007

Review by The Whistler
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Alright! Someone plug in the drum machines! It must be Under Wraps, the OTHER most misunderstood record in Tull's history. It doesn't deserve all the hate that's flung at it. Of course, it's also a really crumby record that no one should own or even like. But it is not, I repeat not, a sell out. Ian was WAY too stupid to ever actually sell out.

Coming off the medieval synth high of Broadsword, Ian figured, what the hell, we can go ALL electrono for this one! So he turned a lot of the reins over to Vettese, which was not a good idea at all. The result? An electro record with the progressive ideals of any of Tull's old junk, but without the sturdy backbone of either Broadsword or even A. It's still a concept album, it's still got sound effects and tracks that flow into each other, there's even a six minute track (which was, oddly enough, not bad). Under Wraps is just really...really...annoying.

Now, it is common knowledge that one of the first three tunes is the best (all penned by just Ian. Coincidence? I think not). "Lap of Luxury" is a fairly catchy number, even if it is laden with synths. "Under Wraps #1" is even catchier, with great vocal delivery. "European Legacy" is my favorite of the load, since it's the most "natural" sounding, what with the flute lines and Spanish guitar. But from there, it all goes downhill.

"Later That Same Evening?" It just sort of drones on for a while, and some of the encoded vocal effects are getting kind of irritating now. "Saboteur?" A repetitive, dorky, hyperactive electrono rocker. "Radio Free Moscow" plays some artsy tricks with the sfx, but at heart, it's just another dull plodder. "Astronomy" is another lame rocker, complete with hyper keyboard effects thrown in, but at least it closes with some classy Ian vocals.

Aside from some goofy pronunciation, "Tundra" is just as useless as the rest of 'em. It's another slow, tuneless track. "Nobody's Car" actually provides us with some flute (a Tull album with flute?!?) It's a little faster, and...hmm. Is anyone else starting to notice a pattern here?

Now, what stops me from rating this album any lower is the next two songs. The first, "Heat," is an okay rocker. It's pretty driving, with some scary vocals. It's almost headbangin'! Too bad there's a heavenly guitar solo in the middle (that not even David Gilmour at his most generic would touch) that spoils it. But next is an album favorite, the gentle, sad "Under Wraps #2." It's a "Cheap Day Return-esque" take on the first "Under Wraps." Some people complain that Ian just tossed in an acoustic version of the earlier song so that old fans would say, "Hey! He's still got it!" I say, so what? "Under Wraps" was one of the better songs, and "#2" is gorgeous. There's some actual emotion in it, that's what I care about.

But then we go right back to the same ole same ole with "Paparazzi." It might actually be the poppiest number on the record. Actually, scratch that, the vocals still make it too weird, and it's way too moody. Damned if I can remember anything else about it though.

"Apogee" is even more repetitive than usual, which is either something to be proud, or ashamed of. Wait, I get it now! It's about astronautics! Trippy astronautics! Ha-ha! Tull conquers space rock! Wish they'd made a better attempt at it.

"Automotive Engineering" at least provides us with some freaky vocals, and you get to hear Ian use an ethnic slur! Not bad, eh? Well, it's also the dorkiest number of them all, complete with blaring start 'n stop synths. Album closer "General Crossing" is pretty aimless, once again the only redeeming factor being Ian's amusing, off the wall, layered vocal delivery. Although, in this case, some might find them to be a little too weird and overbearing...

Alright. I've heard the record enough. But I still say there's nothing really popish about this thing; it's still too complex to be played on your local hits station. If you need to call it something, I guess you could call it baroque synth pop, since there are all those vocal harmonies Ian layers over himself and the keys. It's like if the Beach Boys had a Casio and a flute.

Of course, just because Ian retained his complex image doesn't mean the music is good. Most of it is samey, dull and unmemorable, although it's not quite without atmosphere. Some songs (say, "Under Wraps" or "Heat") actually create an air of spy theme paranoia that is sort of effective. But it's almost not worth looking, not when your lineup is so poor. Pete "Lord of the Synths/Drums" Vettese, the less said about him the better. I guess he actually was being restrained on Broadsword, here he really overdoes himself. He lacks Jobson's technique or Evan's discipline, or even David Palmer's command of the saxophone (we're assuming). Where'd they find him again? Devo?

But Martin and Dave aren't much better; Dave has almost totally adopted the "poppin' bass" style of play, and Marty's guitar is taking a turn for the 80's metallic. Bland 80's metallic. Luckily (or unluckily, depends on how you look at it), you can hardly hear them most of the time.

Ian is still okay though. The flute and acoustic never let me down, not that you can ever hear that either. His vocals are the best aspect of the album; they're all over the place, like some kind of Peter Gabriel wannabe. That's probably a really poor comparison, but, you know. I won't even begin to discuss his vocal tricks here, because there's so many of 'em. If the record deserves repeated listening for anything, it's that. And hey! I saw some saxes in the liner notes! Where's my sax?!?

I don't need to bash this record any more. I think I already did enough of that up there. Besides, it could have been worse; what if every song had had a spoken robot intro? So, if you have had the misfortune of buying this thing (and may Valhalla forgive you), just focus on the (few) catchy numbers, the (fewer) folksy ones, and Ian's crazy vocals. You'll make it. Probably.

(Well, wadaya know! Ian's still into video. The Under Wraps remaster comes with a bunch of extra tracks that make been inserted into the main mix, so if your album didn't have all the songs listed above...well, just consider yourself lucky. But with this thing you also get a music video! It's of the song "Lap of Luxury." Yeah. It's...well, it's amusing, Ian's camera mugging, and at least it's not "Automotive Engineering" or something, but I'd hardly call it an essential bit of prog rockin' cwazy Tullery. Ain't no Hare what Lost His Spectacles. I mean, if you adored Under Wraps, you'll appreciate it to be sure, but if you're still sane, it's not much of an incentive. No change.)

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Send comments to The Whistler (BETA) | Report this review (#126787) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars What would Jethro Tull sound like if he were lobotomized? Well, now we know. Anderson, Barre, Pegg, and Vettese remove all of the wit, prowess, and fun of Tull's sound so well you could almost swear they wanted to. For this album, Vitesse was given control. Charged with this great duty, Vitesse promptly threw monkey wrenches everywhere he could aim. He decided to use a drum machine, which was the first red flag. Drum machines belong in only the heaviest and most technical of metal, never in light folk. Ever. Jot that down and never forget that.

"Lap of Luxury" is usually singled out as the best song on the album. Being the best song on Under Wraps is akin to being the smartest child in alternative school. I honestly can't say it's the best becuase I don't have the mental fortitude to listen to this album enough times to make comparisons. I'll spare you (and myself) a track-by-track review because they all sound the same. If you've heard one crappy track off of Under Wraps you;ve heard every crappt track off of Under Wraps.

As a matter of fact, I wish this album had stayed under wraps. I wish they had taken the master tapes for this and done to them what the U.S. governement did to the Ark of the Covenant in Indiana Jones: seal it in a box, put it in a huge warehouse, and let it remain lost in a bureaucratic quagmire for all eternity. It isn't as bad as ELP's Love Beach, but it comes close. Do not adminster this album to children under the age of 10.

Grade: F

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#127696) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, July 06, 2007

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
1 stars IAN ANDERSON, THE NEW SIMON LEBON!

I don't think to compare these 2 guys would be fair to .......SIMON LeBON as he is a product of his time and was doing what he was supposed to with better talent and success with DURAN DURAN than IAN ANDERSON did with UNDER WRAPS. This album came 2 years after the sublime BROADSWORD AND THE BEAST, and what a difference 2 years can make!! This is not JETHRO TULL of good old sake times, the one we used to like.

This is synthetic plastic JETHRO TULL with no real drummer, using only a synthetised drum machine and galore of 80s outdated sounding keyboards. For the first time, IAN ANDERSON share writing credits with PETER VETTESE on 8, yes 8 out of the 15 tracks of this album. This is easy to blame the keyboardist for all evil, but the ultimate responsability lays on the shoulders of IAN ANDERSON. JETHRO TULL is his own personal ship and as the captain, it's up to him to decide on the final course.

Another downside with UNDER WRAPS is the voice of his leader that has lost any strength and personality which was particular of the JT sound. Anderson is really trying hard, but it can't no more. We all know that JETHRO TULL would take a break in order for ANDERSON to rest and fix his voice.

The most dumbfounding part is when i read the leader comments concerning UNDER WRAPS in the booklet of the CD.He clearly likes this album, would even like to re-record it with real drums and better keyboards. In a way, it can only better especially if his voice is back now to his old strength. But i don't think the quality of the songwriting, or lack of it,would necessarily improve the album. Also what is amazing is that IAN says that his voice is as good as ever at the time.No, he is really forcing his very limited range; Nothing to worry SIMON LeBON about losing his beautiful groupies to IAN.

The ''king'' of this album is of course, keyboardist PETER-JOHN VETTESE who is all over the place with his new-wave synths that sound horrible now to modern ears. MARTIN LANCELOT BARRE do some licks , afew riffs here and there but all mixed with the rest of the keyboards. Also don't try to learn ANDERSON flute playing style , UNDER WRAPS is not the album for that. Of course, you already have understand that mandolin, lute and other medieval string quartet are not part of this package.

I am not going into details about each song, as they all sound quite the same; mid-tempo rockers.Only NOBODY'S CAR can remind me of an old JT rocker but that's it and this not even close. Oh! yes there is ONE acoustic track, the very short UNDERWRAPS#2, but nothing to jump to the ceiling! The lyrics are also kind of strange: it's all about spies, cold war, radio Moscow, sabotage ,credit cards and ''automotive engineering''. A very modern JETHRO TULL indeed!! no minstrel lost in the gallery, no hunting girl in the vicinity!

I wouldn't say IAN ANDERSON was trying to sell out, as he knew 15 years girls would still prefer the bodies of SIMON LEBON or DAVE GAHAN than his.Let just say, JT tried something new and they fall flat, hard on the floor. I own this album for JT discography collection purpose, listened to it again today twice for this review, but i don't think will be a next one.

1 STAR!

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Send comments to febus (BETA) | Report this review (#135327) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars An album very much of its time

While Jethro Tull's classic albums like Aqualung, Thick As A Brick, Minstrel In The Gallery, Heavy Horses, Stormwatch, and even the previous Broadsword And The Beast, sound absolutely timeless to this reviewer's ears, the present album sounds very much of its time. This is a feature that I think Under Wraps shares with the band's two first albums from the late 60's (This Was and Stand Up). Those two albums too were very much of their time. One could perhaps even say that Under Wraps sounds more 80's than it sounds like Jethro Tull, if you know what I mean! I would also say that Under Wraps was the least good Jethro Tull album since the band's 1968 debut.

Under Wraps is the most electronic sounding Tull album, dominated by synthesiser sounds and drum machines. The guitars and flutes take a back seat throughout. This makes the total wall of sound rather thin and the warm and organic feel of albums like Heavy Horses is completely absent here. Ian comments in the booklet to the remastered CD version that he one day would like to re-record this album with genuine drums and less dated keyboard sounds. That could indeed be a large improvement, but I doubt that it could be made into a much better album than it is because the material is rather weak.

There is no doubt that this album belongs to my least favourite Tull albums, but I do not hate it as such. It surely was a major let down after the excellent Broadsword And The Beast and the very powerful string of albums that the band released in the late 70's, but it is not as truly awful as some people say. It should perhaps have been released as an Ian Anderson solo album instead of as a Jethro Tull album?

I would recommend this album only to fellow fans and collectors to whom it surely is an interesting if frustrating listen

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#211060) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 11, 2009

Review by Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Only recently I had the opportunity to hear this album in full, and Iīm very disappointed. At the time I remember seeing the video clip for the first track on TV on a sunday afternoon, Lap Of Luxury, and I thought it was a fine song. Not great, but very fine anyway. I still do, but the rest of the CD is not par to the opener. There are few of the features we are so fond of Ian Anderson on this algum: the group dos not appear much, there are almost no acoustic guitar, the songs are not the most inspired. On the other side there are too much synths and drum machines, something totally unsuitable for the JT sound.

I guess it was a nice try to sound a bit more modern and up to date for the time, but it didnīt work. And it seems even more odd if one remember Under Wraps came just after the excellent and successful Broadsword and The Beast. Worse: while the latter is still a fine album after all these years, Under Wraps nowadays sound dated and forced.

In the end I found this CD to be a mistake. It did not age well and itīs only worth as an experiment. I still think Lap Of Luxury is a good track. The rest is for completionists, collectors and hardcore fans, in this order.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#215791) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, May 14, 2009

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tull challenges their fans. Fans fail.

Jethro Tull's best album of the 1980s (and their best album ever according to Martin Lancelot Barre....not sure what he's smokin') was a huge improvement over the phoned-in disaster that was "Broadsword and the Beast." "Under Wraps" came out in the fall of 1984 as I was starting my senior year in high school, and was merely tolerated by the group of us who went to see their concert eight weeks later in Saint Paul. We were there to see the classics of course but had to endure "the new stuff" which was merely the time for many guys to find an out of the way place to smoke as much pot as possible before the good stuff was performed. Looking back I'm glad I abstained that night as it gave me the opportunity to take in the unique stage show, though at the time I was guilty of being one of those "failed" fans who resented this material. I realize now the music on "Under Wraps" is pretty good on its own terms, despite its creator's attempt to kill it with production overdose. Anderson also likes the album very much now and would like to re-record it with more warmth and a human drummer, but I'm sure such a project will be unlikely to see light of day. Either way, I'm happy that time and a little patience allow me to find the qualities in certain albums that were lost on me in my more musically reactionary teen years.

Ian describes this classy work as "a largely electronic album of songs mostly devoted to spies, secrecy and subterfuge." And the stylish approach and album cover work beautifully to support the feel of the lyrical themes. Even the sound would have been fine had they just softened it a little bit, it is so harshly synth-tronic in a cold way. But the reason the album succeeds is that unlike Broadsword, these songs have some life, and Anderson believes in them---you can hear the difference in his demeanor toward the music. The more in-depth collaboration with PJ Vettese yielded quality songs with diverse arrangements and plenty of neat little quirks going on in the background....sound samples, violins, ambitious vocal dubs, etc. Side one is particularly strong with the driving single "Lap of Luxury" and the steamy, violin laced "Later that same evening." The title track and "European Legacy" are as fresh and interesting as they were live that night. Side two has a few duds but the original vinyl track list is much preferable to the expanded CD version, which adds in the cassette leftover tracks that should have stayed off the remastered edition, or at the least been put at the end as bonus tracks. This recording works better at 45 mins than 60, to me. While I can't agree with Barre that this is the best Tull album, it is one I enjoy very much and it is sadly under-appreciated by too many Tull fans who can't accept the production. I think it sounds vibrant and unique and I much prefer it to other period material like 90125. Give it a chance. Try to listen past the production and hear what's going on underneath. I know it isn't always easy but you might just fall for the lady under the sheet.

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Send comments to Finnforest (BETA) | Report this review (#271231) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Oh dear! True 80's influences affected this album with the " Glam" tag. In retrospect it is not as bad as many reviewers make out, but unfortunately poorer material from the 80's irrespective of artist, dated very quickley. This is indeed one of those. The songs are just a mish mash of sounds and if I had to highlight one specific song over another, I would be lying. Yes the keyboards are mostly to blame but Dave Pegg still manages to salvage some quality sounds with his bass and of course Anderson's vocals are as usual pleasant on the ear. Barre's contribution also not much to call home about.

Anyway if you are a JT fan you will own this and the most ardent fands will maybe even like it but be warned it is rather low on the richter scale of prog, maybe a 3, so don't expect many tremors. Two stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#295345) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars Retro drum machine and synth ? the worst of the 80s has a curious kitsch charm.

An almost intolerable 80s synthpop analogue sound infiltrates Jethro tull's genius to the point of nausea. Yet this has a unique charm in that it is definitely no holds barred 80s. The album lineup is Ian Anderson on flute, acoustic guitar, vocals, Martin Barre on electric guitar, Dave Pegg on bass, Peter-John Vettese on keyboards and machine on drums. This is the worst part of the album. The drum machine, synth, and echoed vocals are all here and melodic ascerbic choruses. Some songs save this from abomination status.

I like 'European Legacy' a lot, especially the flute phrases. The lyrics are interesting; "Round the castle walls, about the Highlands and the Islands, the faint reminders stand, Visitors who took a hand a thousand years ago, or so."

'Lap of Luxury 1' is infectious but very retro these days. It is like Ultravox or Duran Duran meets Tull and it is a challenge to sit through this. I will admit it has some fun elements in that it is so ridiculously retro these days. Anderson sounds fine on vocals but he is completely out of the box. I still admit a guilty pleasure listening to that synth as I was a child of Visage, Ultravox and Depeche Mode, however it doesn't really suit Tull. He was never a new Romantic after all.

There is no prog on this album at all so it really is one to approach with caution. It is more entertaining than innovative. The entertainment factor is due to the nostalgia of the 80s sound. It certainly will not appeal to average prog fans or Tull addicts as it is too different on almost every level. Having said all this it is still a worthwhile listen even if only to check out what was happening in the 80s music scene. I especially like 'Astronomy' with very Depeche Mode synth sounds and spacey effects. It is weird to hear Anderson sing like this but the music is cold chill synth and works for me. The instrumental break is abysmal programmed synth from Peter-John Vettese. By the way Martin Barre is incredibly restrained and nothing like his usual brilliance.

'Apogee' is okay and has a great intro with spacey voice over and a theme about drifting in space. The slower pace and odder time sig is welcome. But it is still inundated with chinking drum machine and plink plunk synths and is too long for its own good. 'Automotive Engineering' may be a reference to Gary Numan's 'Engineers' but is nowhere near as good. It is choppy and mixed coldly with stuttering synths and b-b-booming bass, and clunky analogue. The flute is staccato and just as chopped. Barre's guitar is almost invisible. For some reason I like this as another weird curio on the album. It could have been recorded by any breakdance artist but its kind of cool with Anderson's vocals and that driving flute and synth.

Now for the worst bits and it is unfortunately the rest of the album.

'Later that same Evening' is a real culprit of drum machine tinsel and synth saturation. 'Sabatoeur' is simply awful, and there are other cringe worthy songs. 'Radio Free Moscow' is a parody of Radio Free Europe and Voice of America that claimed to be voices of democracy but Ian is stating it was all to no avail. This song states the untruth of the so called voice of the people. The song itself is full of drum synthetics, electric synths and soft guitar lines. It is okay as a curio but horrible musically. 'Tundra' should have been called 'chunder' as it makes me want to barf listening to this trash. 'Nobody's Car' is perhaps more like John Foxx's 'Nobody's Driving' than Tull but it is completely throwaway. You won't find this song anywhere else thankfully. 'Heat' is really annoying, especially the phrase "get out of the heat" repeated. The fast pace makes it even more sickening with that 4 on the floor time sig, and chilly synth. The multi tracked vocals are abysmal. When the synth solo starts I am completely underwhelmed by this filler effort. By the time barre's lead solo begins it is too late to save this. The album is full of filler tracks such as the appalling sacharinne fluff of 'Under Wraps 2', and cheesy 'Paparazzi' tripe.

Overall this is perhaps the last album one should try for Jethro Tull but it has some moments preventing the 1 star rating for me. As I said this is really only woirth hearing for the nostalgia retro music and nothing else.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#725113) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 13, 2012

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Looking in retrospect Under wraps from 1984 is the worst JT album in theor prolific career. JT is toying now with eclectronic synths , drum machines, etc, a thing that they've started with A album wich is very strong IMO, but Under wraps is absolutly cold and flat typicaly cheesy 80's-style sound. Even for a die hard fan this is the lowest they can go. Some good moments I can trace here, I mean still can listen to these pieces are Under Wraps #1 and Saboteur and maybe Astronomy , the rest are dull and with no real intrest for a prog fan. 2 stars for this one, this is easy synth pop album with Anderson's flute being only an additional instrument , not a full driving force as one glory days. So, after this JT got again together quikly for another studio album, dropping that cold plastic synth sound and in 1985 they preparing for Crest of Knave who is 100% better then this one, remembering in places the old good times. As I said 2 stars.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#1009746) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, August 02, 2013

Latest members reviews

2 stars I dare you all saying Under Wraps is better than Broadsword and The Beast (both are 80s failure). The band recorded using drum machines, synth, and the progressive was forgotten. Even the folk Jethro Tull side was left behind. I think this is commercial music, different from the futuristic ... (read more)

Report this review (#991837) | Posted by VOTOMS | Thursday, July 04, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A very different sounding Jethro Tull - very electronic rock sound not similar to what came before. "Lap of Luxury" - I enjoy the sound of the track although I have almost got to take off my old Jethro Tull hat to appreciate this. "Under Wraps 1" - is that a beat machine I hear as opposed to ... (read more)

Report this review (#942797) | Posted by sukmytoe | Thursday, April 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

1 stars The worst thing Jethro Tull ever put their name on. Even a die-hard Tull fan (ie me) would find this more useful as a frisbee than as a record (and I have the CD so even then it would be relatively useless). Even if you like 80s synth pop, this is still second rate (I've always maintained that ... (read more)

Report this review (#540733) | Posted by Tull Freak 94 | Monday, October 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I recently copied my entire CD collection including the good, the bad, and the ugly so I could sync my entire CD collection to my Ipod. This would fall into the ugly category. I haven't listened to this album for years, but I forced myself to listen to it again today just to see if som ... (read more)

Report this review (#414942) | Posted by By--Tor | Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Ahhhh...the much maligned UNDER WRAPS. Personally, there is much here that I actually like. It is far beyond the old classic folky kind of Tull, but it is an interesting electronic form of Jethro Tull. The songs I like on this are : "Lap of Luxury", "Under Wraps #1", "Later That Same Evening", ... (read more)

Report this review (#339151) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, November 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm afraid I don't share the same urge as most reviewers, and most Tull fans in general apparently, to mercilessly assault this record. This is one of my favorite Tull albums, up there with "Minstrel." Yes, it has cheesy early '80s technology. But it was recorded in the early '80s. "Thick as a B ... (read more)

Report this review (#259849) | Posted by jreskin | Thursday, January 07, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars By 1984 the record buying public could expect anything from Jethro Tull who by this time had undergone more than a few stylistic deviations. 1980s "A" LP which was met with a considerable degree of dissension from critics and afficiados alike without a doubt gave Jethro Tull`s fearless leader Ian ... (read more)

Report this review (#189157) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars As everyone knows, this is a controversial JT album (to say the least), but it does have a lot going for it, and I intend to speak up in its favour. Initially, having been bludgeoned by 'Walk into Light', I heard this and thought oh no, more of the same, but over time I had learned that JT re ... (read more)

Report this review (#180749) | Posted by npjnpj | Monday, August 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars While The Broadsword and the Beast and Ian Anderson's under-rated solo effort Walk into Light pointed in an increasingly electronic direction, the opening bars of Lap of Luxury with the drum machine to the fore were a shock to many. Indeed, if there is a divisive Tull album this it. But it is pr ... (read more)

Report this review (#180681) | Posted by thehumanstomach | Sunday, August 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This surely is the poorest album Jethro Tull has ever made. The great influence of keyboard player Peter John Vettese is not such a good one. The sound is weird. This record, far more more than A, does not sound like Jethro Tull music. Not at all. Too many synths, too experimental, too few flu ... (read more)

Report this review (#122870) | Posted by firth of fifth | Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars This is the winner of the "Worst" made album by a top prog-rock band. Few other rock giants also had their shares of derailed performance--specially in the eighties. But none comes close to this classic bad album. This album sounds like teen synth band. The cover along with the suggestive title i ... (read more)

Report this review (#84518) | Posted by Sharier | Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Stay away. Stay far away. I feel compelled to write this review lest anybody make the mistake of listening to this record, much less buying it. I am a Tull fan but most proggers will want to fling this across the room. Yes, all Tull elements are gone. No folk, no baroque textures, nothing ... (read more)

Report this review (#78666) | Posted by TOD KREMER | Friday, May 19, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Very enjoyable album from Jethro Tull! This is not anything like their older works and perhaps that was a good change. More poppy and playful with an up to date sound, this album is one of my favourite from this year. ... (read more)

Report this review (#69063) | Posted by | Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Underated Underwraps. The album that should have come after "A". Why did Anderson ever make The Broadsword and the Beast album? Anyway I must have been into synths at the time. A bit of New Wave didn't hurt anyone. I love the majority of the the songs on this album. "Saboteur" is an und ... (read more)

Report this review (#57773) | Posted by | Friday, November 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album has a similar style to 'A' and 'Walk Into Light' but it is just not as good as those other albums. This album is not remotely progressive. I like a couple of tunes on this album. Lap of Luxury, Under Wraps #1 and #2 but most of it is not very good. I must disagree with those that com ... (read more)

Report this review (#38415) | Posted by digdug | Sunday, July 03, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Great Electronic-Rock Album (with Flute) containing almost every track a standout. Unfortunately, for many Jethro Tull fans....A Great or Bad Electronic album is a moot point. I however rate the music in itself, not based upon what the band "SHOULD SOUND LIKE" The music is catchy, the conce ... (read more)

Report this review (#16744) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A lot of people are here complaining about the "dated" sound of this album. For Tull to release an album trying to sound like 1972 back in 1984 would have been dated. Truly sit back and listen to the album, the songs are excellent, the instrumentation is just different from their norm. That's ... (read more)

Report this review (#16743) | Posted by Semprini | Thursday, April 28, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Good Grief, children. Get the picture here! This is a Cold War masterpiece and there is nothing like it ever made by any other band. Contextualization is the key, dear hearts. This is the fully realized work of a mature artist. The music captures the Zeitgeist of the Cold War perfectly and the ... (read more)

Report this review (#16741) | Posted by | Monday, March 07, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars There was a time when I despised everything that was not classical music (J.S.Bach was my true and only God). Then came Rick Wakeman with his "No earthly connection" and, in the end, "Songs from the Woods", with its so often medieval sound. I was lost forever to the prog music. This album has ... (read more)

Report this review (#16739) | Posted by | Friday, December 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

2 stars It *is* very of its time, but there are somegreat songs on here. The problem is that there are also some dreadful songs on here - Tull albums from heron are usually a 50/50 mix of good stuff and awful stuff. You can get a decent little 35 minute LP out of all this though, if you're prepared to ... (read more)

Report this review (#16738) | Posted by | Monday, September 06, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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