Jethro Tull’s IAN ANDERSON – TAAB2 Thick As A Brick 2 (EMI 2012)
Holy crap! This is a great album! I have no hesitation in ranking this among my favourite Jethro Tull albums. And yes, I consider this a Jethro Tull album. All that is missing is Martin Barre. The story goes that Martin does not enjoy the studio process, and the album is billed as “Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson”. Something like that Black Sabbath featuring Tony Iommi disc. Or, Blackie Lawless & W.A.S.P. David Coverdale & Whitesnake. The list goes on!
This is what I would consider quintessential Tull: Lots of fluttery flute, nice acoustic moments, and very traditional sounding bits. All this with stunning electic riffs, and complexity of arrangement like a roller coaster. And my God, what an album! I have confidence in saying that Thick As A Brick 2 is a fine sequel. Not The Empire Strikes Back, nor The Wrath of Khan…it’s more Aliens. Catch my drift? Don’t expect the same thing. What you loved about the original might be here in different form. This is a sleeker Brick, 40 years older, dealing with the modern age and the passage of time.
The concept is this: Where would Gerald Bostock from Brick 1 be, 40 years after that newspaper? Ian Anderson images five”might-have-beens”. Perhaps Gerald would become a big money banker. Or an opposite of that; homeless. What forks might Gerald take in the road? And where do they end? This story inspired Anderson to write some excellent music. And yes, the album is divided into songs.
There are numerous musical themes that recur, tying the album together. There are also musical clues from Tull albums past. The biggest hook on the album is the main riff in “Banker Bets, Banker Wins”, a stunning triumph. “Swing It Far” is like harder Tull, and it’s splendid. There are numerous excellent flute, organ, guitar, and piano solos, but also plenty of hooks and catchy riffs. Just listen to “Old School Song” as an example.
Ian has assembled an excellent band: David Goodier is the current bassist in Jethro Tull. Also from Tull is keyboardist John O’Hara. On guitars is the very talented Florian Opahle. On drums is Scott Hammond, who has filled in with Jethro Tull. You can see why it is easy to consider this a Tull album.
Of all the new albums released so far in 2012, Thick As A Brick 2 is one that I have played most frequently, it has simply captured me. In spite of this, I still have not even watched the included DVD! A 5.1 mix of this great album is included, as well as making-ofs and interviews. I’ll have to get around to watching this (when the wife isn’t watching her damned sports).