This is the last true, all new material, album that JT have put out to date ('The JT Christmas Album' only has a few new tracks, plus lots of excellent re-do's), and it was released back in 1999. However, it sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did on release.
I have always thought that the album seems to be in 2 distinct parts. The first 10 songs being either heavy, almost raucous crowd pleasers, such as Spiral, Hunt by numbers and El Nino and then others such as Wicked Windows, Hot Mango Flush, Mango Surprise are songs that set Ian Anderson out as the musical and lyrical genius that Tull fans know him to be, being fun, quirky, intelligent gems.
Of the last 4 songs on the record, 3 are heart achingly beautiful, thoughtful love songs, in the lyrical vein of Pibroch(cap in hand) from Songs from the wood.
It is hard to pick out a favourite / best track because how do you choose between Hunt by Numbers which is a turn-the-volume-right-up rocker about pussy-cats out on the prowl (remember, this is JT, such things are not incongruent), a thoughtful almost acoustic love song like A Gift of Roses and the idiosyncratic, bouncy, Hot Mango Flush?
So, why only 4 stars? It is all down to one track; AWOL. It is one of the VERY few Ian Anderson songs that sound like it was written both when he was asleep and as a space filler on an album. Put simply, it is not a very good song being boring and dreary, which is not something you associate with his output.
If you don't have this in your collection, get it now, you will not be disappointed.