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Jethro Tull - Catfish Rising CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

2.64 | 501 ratings

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3 stars Another rock-heavy album from Jethro Tull from the early 90s. As I listen to this one, I like to compare it to "Crest of a Knave" which was also rock-heavy, but done very well with a good mix of progressive rock still present. I consider that album one of their best, while this particular album is quite a mixed bag with hardly any progressiveness at all. It was obviously created in an attempt to update the sound of the band and gain a younger audience. So, as most reviewers here have already noted, this makes this album suffer. But, there is some good here too and that's what I want to talk about.

We're off to a bad double-whammy start with "This is not Love" and "Occasional Demons" as these are both throwaway attempts at straightforward rock and these tracks are not memorable at all. "Roll Your Own" is a fun song and quite enjoyable with more of an acoustic rock sound. "Rocks on the Road" returns to mediocrity for the most part, but has a great instrumental break in the middle that saves it. "Sparrow on the Schoolyard Wall" has some good lyrics but is otherwise just straightforward rock, nothing special. "Thinking Round Corners" is an attempt to make the folky rock sound of JT contemporary. It has an Irish lilt to it, but it only sounds silly and is a poor attempt. "Still Loving You Tonight" is a highlight with a nice bluesy sound that I love and a nice Spanish/blues guitar instrumental break in the middle and at the end. "Doctor to My Disease" is another throwaway track, pure pop/rock drivel. "Like a Tall This Girl" is an okay sounding folk rock song. "White Innocence" is the longest track with a light progressiveness to it, but it sounds like they took several of the songs from the "Crest of a Knave" album, rearranged them and threw them together. The result is good but it's nothing new. "Sleeping with the Dog" is another great bluesy track that I like. (Funny how this album is supposed to be a return to the blues but there are only 2 blues sounding songs here.) "Gold Tipped Boots" is a great hard acoustic song that I like. For the bonus tracks, "Night in the Wilderness" is just another straightforward rock song that no one would have missed, and "Jump Start" is a live and extended version of a song from "Crest of a Knave" which is good, but kind of pointless since it isn't changed much from the original track.

So, like I said, it's a mixed bag. I don't consider it an album to completely ignore, but it's nothing special either. I end up liking about half of it and hating half of it. I do not agree with the reviewers here that compare this to anything by Dire Straits, because DS is much better than this and I don't find that it sounds like DS at all. The only song that JT has made that I can imaging Mark Knopfler singing is "She Said She Was a Dancer" from "Crest of a Knave".

So, even though "Crest of a Knave" is also a standard-rock heavy album, it is so much better than this, it has more variety, more progressiveness, better written songs and sounds more like JT than like commercial pressure. Like I said, there are hardly any (if any at all) prog elements in this album. It just isn't challenging enough. You can make a rock record without many prog elements and still make it challenging. "Crest of a Knave" worked, but "Catfish Rising" does not. It's too inconsistent. There are some great tracks here, but it is not essential overall. 3 stars.

TCat | 3/5 |


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