A cracking Tull album finally gets the sonic clear-up it deserves. Broadsword fuses medieval themes with sprightly arrangements, 'modern day' instrumentation and shiny production to produce a sort of folky Dire Straits sound. Sadly, whilst the remastering definitely improves what was always one of Tull's thinnest sounding albums, Gerry Conway's drums still sound like synthesized biscuit tins.
The eight extra tracks are very welcome, but to these ears it's a shame they're all the same ones anthologised on the 20 Years Box set - no room for 'Crew Nights', 'Commons Brawl', 'No Step' or 'Drive on the Young Side of Life', each of which tower over the drivel like 'Watching Me Watching You' and others included in this set.
But enough of my carping. This is one of Tull's best albums - whether splicing the mainbrace on Broadsword, wallowing in the pastoral yearning of Slow Marching Band, progging out on Seal Driver or synth-throbbing on The Clasp - this is an album as old as the hills and as futuristic as its 1981 heritage allows. Ironically, having confused the occasional punters so comprehensively on Stormwatch and A, it was Broadsword that suffered in overall sales. Ian's solo album and Under Wraps showed that he still had a way to go on his personal synthesizer journey, but this album was a very high watermark in a meagre few years.