Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn
Album assigned by: Alexander Shatkevich
Although owning most JT albums up to Heavy horses, for the last 20 years, I have grown ‘unused’ to Ian’s voice. The snarling sounds hurt my sensitive ears. So it was with some trepidation that I looked up this recent solo album.
For better and for worse, I can say that nothing much has changed: still very much in the folk rock genre with proggy flourishes (courtesy of that flute), and a pretty good use of dynamics (quiet, slightly melancholic parts interspersed by louder, hard rocking parts). We have here a collection of songs that is still sometimes marred by that voice. It is, to my inexperienced ears, firmly in the Jethro Tull vein, to the extent that it is indistinguishable from what I imagine a 21st century JT record would sound like.
But! To my surprise (I’m not ashamed to admit) the quality of the song writing is actually very good. I keep thinking “What could Peter Gabriel, or Jon Anderson do with this material”? And Ian’s voice still distracts me, but imagining the music with different singers is, in this case, a big compliment to the actual music.
But, to be honest, just as in classic songs like Aqualung and Locomotive Breath, sometimes Ian’s soulful pleading vocals or cynical almost sadistic vocals (think Roger Waters) DO match the music. Some songs are a bit more rocky, like Doggerland, the impressive start of the album. Others are more proggy, such as Tripudium ad bellum, even if it lasts not even 3 minutes.
I like it. Ultimately, if you like classic Tull in any way, this (solo) incarnation will not disappoint!