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Ian Anderson - Homo Erraticus CD (album) cover


Ian Anderson


Prog Folk

3.61 | 226 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Back in the 70's I was introduced to the music of Jethro Tull and immediately realised I had found everything I had been looking for, and while my first introduction to them in concert may not have been exactly what I expected (it was the 'Under Wraps' tour after all), I could soon be found hunting for rare copies of vinyl and spending silly amounts of money on everything Tull. It was a direct result of this obsession which saw me being asked to write an article for the 'A New Day' fanzine nearly 40 years ago and in many ways, it has been downhill ever since. However, even though I saw them many times in the 80's and 90's it was obvious that Ian's voice was never the same after his problems in 1983, and when I saw them at Cropredy in 2004 I vowed to never see them again. By this time I was also wrapped up in the progressive underground and had lost interest in buying Tull when they released a new album, having been somewhat disappointed with 'Catfish Rising', and been further upset when Martin and Ian parted ways. Consequently I did not hear this 2014 album until recently, recorded during a period when Jethro Tull were no more and Ian was following his own path, although various of those involved were members of Tull when he started that off again (almost memories of 'A').

Ian's solo albums have always been a little hit and miss, with 'Walk Into Light' a fine example of how to ruin songs with arrangements which never worked: take "Fly By Night", which is absolute masterpiece, but only on David Palmer's 1985 'A Classic Case'. So to say I came into this album with more than a little trepidation is something of an understatement, so to come across an album which is the finest Jethro Tull release since 1987's 'Crest of a Knave' (for which they won a Grammy remember) was somewhat surprising. This has everything one expects from Tull, Ian is full mastery of every song, complex lyrics, bringing in folk and styles which sweep throughout the band's career, and never for once sounding if there are any issues. There may not be any Martin or Peggy, but Florian Opahle has a nice edge on guitar, becoming a member of Tull when Ian started using that name again in 2017, while bassist David Goodier had already been in Tull since 2007, as had keyboard player John O'Hara while drummer Scott Hammond had worked with Ian since 2010 and is also now a member of the reformed Tull. Singer Ryan O'Donnell does a very nice Anderson vocal style, and he had already been involved since 'TAAB2', so everyone involved knew what they were doing, and one feels this is very much a full band as opposed to a group of session musicians.

"The Engineer" could have come from either 'Songs From The Wood' or 'Heavy Horses' with its strong use of both accordion and piano and does not sound like a new song at all, while "The Pax Brittanica" is another which is classic Tull. I know the melody is from an old Tull song, but I can't for the life of me place it, but feels very familiar. It is an album which stunned me the very first time I played it, and I have fallen deeply in love with it ever since, and I have been revisiting many of their older albums to see just where I think it fits in their canon, and for sheer listening pleasure it is very close indeed to 'Knave' and one which everyone who thought their best days were long behind them need to discover for themselves.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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