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Jethro Tull - Heavy Horses CD (album) cover

HEAVY HORSES

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

4.03 | 1122 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars The loose lyrical concept is one of Jethro Tulll's best: It is an ode and elegy of rural living. Unfortunately the music, unlike the soil of a good farmer's field, yields a scanty harvest in terms of ideas or flow. One may expect decent progressive folk music, but the nasty vocals do this album a disservice. The title track, however, is a masterwork.

"...And the Mouse Police Never Sleeps" Giddy acoustic guitar and huffs of flute make up this up-tempo folksy tune. It serves as a promising number, although the vocal section at the end is maddening.

"Acres Wild" Mandolin and bass dance a jig in this Celtic-inspired song. Ian Anderson's voice doesn't compliment it, but it stands as an okay piece.

"No Lullaby" Martin Barre gets to have some fun on electric guitar in the beginning, but soon turns the playground over to John Glascock and Barriemore Barlow. The subsequent bit is rather placid for a rocker, featuring Anderson's gritty vocals but very light dashes flute. The more urgent section that follows doesn't sound honest- it sounds like the band is trying too hard to be progressive (so much so that nothing really flows together). Something I didn't notice until recently is that the riff that would be used in the 1995 song "Roots to Branches" is snuck in.

"Moths" This could have made for an excellent acoustic soft song in the vein of the masterpieces found on Minstrel in the Gallery, but Anderson has to sing as though his vocal cords had been ravaged by the titular creature.

"Journeyman" Starting with a funky bass groove, this has a decent vocal performance that doesn't quite match the rest of the music, but has some guitar stabbings from Barre ripping through the sound now and again. This just does nothing for me.

"Rover" I enjoy the instrumentation on this song, but once again, the vocals just mar it.

"One Brown Mouse" The second song to feature the word "mouse" in the title, this track is a decent bit of folk rock with fanciful instrumentation and graceful acoustic guitar. The vocals this time are easier on the ears- overall, a fair tune, but as is the case with this album, nothing remarkable.

"Heavy Horses" This is a Jethro Tull masterpiece, and despite my misgivings about much of the rest of the album, this makes the record worth having, as it serves as a magnificent centerpiece that boasts not only masterful music, but ties the lyrical theme together with a nostalgic bow.

"Weathercock" The final piece has more lovely acoustic guitar (with a heavy beat and some electric guitar playing rhythm in the backdrop), but it's highlight is Anderson's flute solo.

Epignosis | 3/5 |

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