Top positive review
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Excellent heavy Tull
on 16 April 2012
'J-Tull Dot Com' is not a popular album among the Tullite faithful but this is actually a solid consistent album with great melodies and excellent musicianship.
It is Tull in the late 90s so perhaps will not appeal to all. But this is actually quite heavy and has some memorable riffs and melodies, and the flute is superb.
Check out Barre's riffing on 'Hunt By Numbers' and Anderson sounds serious and very accomplished vocally. His flute warbles manically and is as good as I have heard him. The shimmer of Hammond is heard and the drumming is exceptional. Okay it's not 'Thick as a Brick', but what is? I am not going to compare this with the 70s as that's a useless feat, but in itself this album is entertaining and there are no bad tracks. It actually has an incredible song 'Spiral' that kicks off the album admirably. This is followed by 2 excellent innovative tracks, 'Dot Com' and Awol'. 'Nothing @ All' is certainly one of the highlights, with dazzling flute and guitar. The songs are progressive and inventive throughout.
The acoustics are here too with songs such as 'Hot Mango Flush'. The lyrics of this are fun; 'ladies with ice cream hair, gyroscopic pink neon beams, everybody's happy about something.' There is even a King Crimson like rhythm and wonderful bassline. What's not to like? This is followed by the Arabian feel of 'El Nino' that is captivating and mysterious. The chorus has a metal style distorted riff, some of the heaviest from Barre. 'Black Mamba' is a flute feast and some wonderful melodic singing. Anderson goes for a darker tone than the whimsy of the past and it works.
He still knows how to tell a story such as on the enigmatic 'Bends Like a Willow.' The trade offs of guitar and flute in this is superb. The time sigs change a few times too and I like this more experimental approach for the band. 'Far Alaska' has a frenetic flute line and very cool guitar phrases. The lyrics are intriguing; 'Norwegian fiords in the ever-light of Solstice' and 'now get me out of here I cry in air rage psycho-doom.' The lead break is great and some synth in mellotron style.
Overall I can't fault this album and, like 'Roots to Branches', it definitely is a welcome heavier side of the band in terms of Barre's guitars and Anderson's perfect vocals. It is a different side of Tull but one that I admired due to the way that the band demonstrate they can still produce innovative prog albums in the wake of a slew of fairly pedestrian releases in the 80s, that Tull had churned out previously.