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CD: Ian Anderson - Thick as a Brick 2 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ian Anderson - Thick as a Brick 2

CD: Ian Anderson - Thick as a Brick 2

The ghost of prog rock past inspires a sequel from the Jethro Tull veteran

TAAB 2: The continuing adventures of Gerald Bostock

The 1972 Jethro Tull opus Thick as a Brick was offered by Ian Anderson as a parody of progressive rock concept albums. Its sub-Pythonesque packaging proclaimed the record’s lyrics to be an epic poem composed by an eight-year-old swot, Gerald Bostock, who was disqualified from winning a literary prize after swearing during a BBC interview. Anderson talks up the jape to this day, neglecting the Oedipal struggle central to the album’s opaque narrative, its layered, intricate musical motifs, and its cinematic sweep. Never given its critical due, Thick ranks beside its predecessor, Aqualung, as a masterpiece.

He has now cut a fortieth anniversary sequel under his solo rubric with a fresh group that will internationally tour both albums beginning next month. TAAB 2, comprised of 17 tracks (including a blank-verse poem and a mock prayer), posits the several turnings that Gerald, now in midlife, might have taken – banker, down and out (a nod to Aqualung), soldier, preacher, shopkeeper. As a meditation on the chances and decisions that forge destinies, the concept allows Anderson to continue his caustic denunciation of society. It’s less affecting, however, than an undiluted character study might have been.

Despite the absence of guitarist Martin Barre, it's total late-period Tull. Anderson’s voice is more nasal than it once was, but there are a few Thick resonances – wintry winds, rumbling piano chords, a surging Hammond organ, some hoary flute and guitar riffs, even a reprise of the acoustically accompanied intro-outro, if none of those glorious barrelling Elizabethan passages that provided Tull’s pomp. Against that, there are several anthemic rockers that should succeed live and one road-tested, putative classic, the evenly paced “A Change of Horses", to which John O’Hara’s shimmering accordion lends a gorgeous Caledonian aura. “Resolute, the optimist, I ride fresh horse and spur it on / Four hundred thousand hours have come and gone", Anderson sings, simultaneously jettisoning his customized archness and the unreclaimable past.

 

 

 

The concept allows Anderson to continue his caustic denunciation of society

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Average: 3 (1 vote)

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