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Jethro Tull - War Child CD (album) cover


Jethro Tull


Prog Folk

3.33 | 812 ratings

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3 stars War Child is incredibly enjoyable!

...If you start listening half way through like I usually do.

The first half of the album does kick of pretty well with War Child, a solid if not overly original piece. The next four songs also indelibly carry the Jethro Tull stamp. They are smothered in molasses-y Ian Anderson-ness. For most of us that is usually to be counted as a really good thing. The only problem is this is a grinding and middling Jethro Tull. This condition is personified by Back-Door Angels.

To its credit Back-Door Angels is exempt from a particularly biting criticism, when coming from me at any rate. I hated how the strings sounded on Queen and Country, Ladies and to a lesser extent Sealion. If you have read just about any of my other reviews you will know I die for strings. They are piercing and unnecessary on all three.

The first half of War Child is an exercise in mediocrity and should generally be avoided.

Stinging, but...

I don't think I can say enough good things about what comes next. Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day is absolutely fantastic. This is my favourite piece of Jethro Tull work apart from the opening sequence to Thick as Brick. I sing along every time. My only slight criticism is that the world music stuff is kind of superfluous, but not really damaging.

Up next is the well known Bungle in the Jungle. This is the kind of piece that they were probably reaching for on the beginning of the album but failed to achieve. I am willing to bet it is much derided for its popularity. But let's face it, it's good if a little on the pop music side of the scene. Also, the strings are mercifully redeemed here.

Only Solitaire is short, but very sweet. Ian Anderson's vocals are killer along with the acoustic guitar. The lyrics are excellent and the change-up to the slowed down latter portion is enjoyable.

The Third Hurrah is a bit silly. If I had to pick a weakest piece for the second half this would probably have to be it. That being said it still soars above even War Child whose virtues I so weakly extolled earlier. The Third Hurrah is kind of bouncy and loaded with keyboards and yes the pipes as well. It reprises the War Child refrain to much better effect. This piece exudes Englishness as well.

The final entry is Two Fingers which is a reprise of Lick Your Fingers Clean off of Aqualung. Being associated with Aqualung is seldom a bad omen and it certainly isn't here. Two fingers is a fairly straight forward style of rocker (for Jethro Tull). It does constantly shift from acoustic to electric nicely and is supported by Ian Anderson's exceptional singing yet again. For the record I like Lick Your Fingers Clean a little better than Two Fingers.

I give the first half of War Child a dismal 1 out of 5, and on the other hand I give the second half a well deserved 5 out of 5. So seeing as how I love the second half just so much I think I am going to be forgiving and award War Child a 3 out of 5 on the balance. If it makes any sense I recommend this album entirely for its stunning second half.

R-A-N-M-A | 3/5 |


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