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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 2 April 2012
Couldn't disagree more with the previous reviewer. This is superb. Ian Anderson's writing skills have never been better. Stong melodies, excellent song structures, nice references to TAAB 1, great electric guitar, flute playing as quirky and strong as ever. Recording quality is superb, beautifully engineered by Steven Wilson (Check out his efforts on the recently remastered Aqualung). If you like Ian Anderson and Tull, go and buy this immediately!
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on 4 April 2012
. . .have been waiting for a new Tull album for - oh so many years. At last it has arrived, and I play it for the first time, with fear and trepidation. How can it possibly live up to that vast catalogue of albums that I have come to love more than any other, apart from other minor composers such as Bach, Wagner, Britten ! - and yet it does ! - I love it.
For so many years, it seems that Ian has been waiting for inspiration to truly match that of his earlier albums - in particular 'Thick as a Brick'. That has always been an album of strange and compelling fascination like no other, and to me it was so good to hear through-composed music that had something to say, in the manner of a classical work, rather than dis-jointed individual tracks for those of short attention spans. Such profundity and perception, but still something we can all relate to as part of our youth - and now we have something that is part of all our maturity, thanks to the enlightened objectivity of Ian's poetical lyrics, and a re-creation of the original sound of the 70s palette but with words that have moved on in time and in life - an amazing re-construction - and yet fully 21stC digital-age music at the same time !
My faith has been re-kindled in Tull, although it is not Tull - where is Martin, Doane, etc. Dare I say it, but on this album, it does not seem to matter as far as the sound is concerned - it is Ian's sound entirely. I never thought it could happen after so long, but I haven't enjoyed an album - oh so much - for years.
A large glass of malt whisky, consumed at the same time will make it doubly eophoric!
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on 9 April 2012
Thick as a Brick 2 is categorised under Ian's own Solo work, rather than Jethro Tull and quite rightly to. Many may be saying where is Martin Barre, but this is not a Jethro Tull album even if it does have references to the sequel of the 1972 Classic Prog Rock Album after some 40 years.

There is no way TAAB 2 comes close to TAAB 1. For one thing it's not one complete piece of music in the format of one track like the original. Neither is it a Prog Rock for that matter. I suppose the nearest way to describe what we have here is more like a collection of Ian's history from the album War Child back in 1974 up to Roots To Branches in 1995. Perhaps in some respect like the album Nightcap released in 1993. But, and I must stress, with a far better collection of songs along it's path.

Though TAAB 2 is in the form of a concept album in telling the story of Gerald Bostock's life as he grows up from an 8 year old child into a 50 year old man, the story line does not cut the mustard with the original spoof of the 1972 classic that's for sure. But never the less there some damn fine lyrics along the lines of this album that do put together a story worth telling. The musicians on the album do a good job without a doubt and are quite capable to do so. Ian's own work is pure class.

Ian as very much struggled with his voice since Crest of a Knave back in 1985, which was the last decent solid studio album Jethro Tull made in my own opinion, though I do very much like the 2003 Christmas Album to to be honest. But there are moments on this album where Ian's voice does come across exactly as it did in 1974 on the album War Child which is quite remarkable, because I have so much missed it for many years.

TAAB 2 is a damn good album by Ian Anderson, it's by a milestone the best solo album he as made under his own name, it's way better than the Jethro Tull albums Stormwatch/A/Under Wraps/Rock Island/Catfish Rising/Roots To Branches and DOT COM, because them albums are far from solid output albums and only have a couple of tracks each which are really any up to standards with Jethro Tull well written material that's for sure.

TAAB 2 is very much a solid album with it's written and performed material along it's path. It's perhaps worthy of 5 stars in reality, because it's by far the best thing I have heard from Ian regarding studio work of this class since Crest of a Knave. I highly recommend it, because it's got class along it's path that's for sure, and to me it's the best present and surprise I have had for many of years regarding class albums.

Gave the 5.1 version a blast last night, and have to say Steve Wilson done a damn fine job on the mix. Making this purchase even more worth the reason to get it.
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on 3 April 2012
I eagerly awaited this album, having been a fan of the original for christ knows how many years now - having given the WHOLE album a few spins, it does both clearly reference Thick as a Brick (1), but in the main falls into a collection of rather bland, and forgettable MOR tunes that really don't hold up to the original. The musicianship is fine, and very occasionally inspired (but appears very controlled, I suspect by Mr Anderson - you get the impression that if he let the other band members off the leash a bit, this could have been so much more interesting).

Lyric wise, there is some good and occasionally embarrassing story telling, that sometimes matches the wit of the original. There are themes about the various possible outcomes of the life of Gerald bostock, with some quaint English cultural references (Fray Bentos pie etc). Themes that reference the current recession and bankers, and recent global conflicts.

Having listened to both albums back to back - I'm going to be blunt here - Ian Anderson might have a band of crack musicians on TAAB 2 , but it misses the driving,creative drums of Barriemore Barlow; the incendiary guitarwork (and sound!) of Martin Barre; John Evan plays the Hammond organ like a demon possessed - John O'Hara does not etc etc. (I'm a bassist - I know Ian Anderson's current bass player is good, but where's the passion?).

I've given this a few more listens and its definately a grower - but the issues that keep coming back to me is - the bass and drums just don't cut it - they lack passion, and are just lazily played. This is probably the key difference for me about why TAAB 1 stands out so much more.

I probably will come back to this album,but I just wish Anderson would rein his ego in a bit, and let the other musicians shine more.

Incidently, when I watched the DVD, I got a sense that the musicians did not appear that relaxed and were constantly being watched over. And the lyric readings were an embarrassing disply of Ian's ego, that had me cringing.

Listen to them back to back and you decide. We all know really that classic Tull stopped after Stormwatch, if we're honest with ourselves.

Ho hum it's still no more than 3 stars, even though I like it a bit more.
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on 2 April 2012
Well, you should do - it's great! I can sort of see why it's an Anderson solo project but it really is good. Sufficiently different to the original to stand on it's own merits and plenty of tongue in cheek references to it's older brother (as well as some of it's cousins).
Nice one, Ian! Can't wait to see it performed live later this month.
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on 10 June 2012
Wading my way through the previous 80 odd reviews of this album you can see that most people have their own preconceived opinions, biases, hobby horses and expectations and maybe when a band has been playing for as long as Jethro Tull, nearly 44 years, it is hard not to do so.

I feel that rather than try and compare this album with the original TAAB and bemoan the absence of former friends and icons such as Martin Barre it might be best just to listen to the album and assess it on its own merits rather than consider all the previous baggage mentioned before.

So does this album hit the spot ? Absolutely. Does it deserve to join the pantheon of former Tull epics? Yes.

I find it amazing that Ian Anderson still has the hunger and ability to produce an album of this quality after so many years of being in the business.

Not may of his peers are able to do the same.

Rather than provide a painstaking analysis of every track I will just say that all the Anderson/Tull prerequisites are there.

Great riffs, the juxtapositions of folk and rock, quality musicianship, clever lyrics.

After all these years Ian Anderson is still relevant and capable of writing and producing a quality piece of work that Improves with every listening.
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on 9 April 2012
I've listened to TAAB2 several times now and I have to say it's exceeded my expectations by several magnitudes. It's not TAAB1 revisited, although there's enough sly references to it, musically, to give a genuine sense of it being a sequel, but what comes across most of all is how, in 40 years, Ian Anderson has matured as a lyricist. He was always bitingly satirical, scornful even, of the contradictions of society, but TAAB2 is a surprisingly tender, gently-yet-acutely observed, quietly optimistic piece. I find it's stirring an emotional response at several points as he draws you into the central concept. It's a deeply mature piece of work that Anderson could never have produced 40 years ago - it needs those 40 years to be able to reflect back on what genuinely might-have-been. The fragility of the path we tread and the radically different lives we might have lived is explored in some truly lovely poetry set to music that is classic Tull, regardless of the musicians playing it, (there's been some controversy over the fact that Martin Barre is not featured on this album). Although labelled as an Ian Anderson solo album this is in every sense a Jethro Tull record and, to be honest, one of the very best. Frankly I can't wait for the UK live shows this month as I think the complete performance of TAAB2 is going to hold up VERY well against the equally complete TAAB1.
Highly recommended and it just goes to show the concept album is anything but dead...
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on 4 April 2012
I have been a fan of Thick as a Brick since seeing the band play the full version at a Royal Albert Hall concert in 1972. Since that moment I was a lifelong Tull fan. The band are one of the few 'prog' bands of that era that have genuinely maintained their integrity and sought to develop a wide range of musical styles. For me though TAAB represented their high water mark. No album since has given me so much enjoyment. The concept was brilliant and the musicianship was always exciting and detailed being played as a genuine ensemble with no one musician taking centre stage. TAAB2 follows up on this tradition although the 'song-cycle' flow of the album does not match the original. It is more a collection of themed songs within the overall concept rather than a totally integrated piece of music. However, its good album up and for me is the best Tull studio album since A Passion Play (yes I remain a fan of this too.) . Its a must buy for any Tull fan and the CD/DVD is good value for money with 5.1 surround versions and a 24/48 LPCM version. The DVD also provides the appropriate lyric sheets as the song is being played which works very well. Compared to the over-priced offering from Pink Floyd recently TAAB2 offers fans good new material benefiting from new technology at a price that does not bring tears to the eyes.
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on 9 April 2012
If you are expecting this to be a new Thick as a Brick, you are going to be disappointed. The first time I listened to TAAB2 I thought it was mediocre. Then I found myself at work humming some of the riffs, this is an album that grows on you. At the moment have it constantly on in the car.
We have to accept, I think, that this is the nearest thing that we are going to get to a new Tull album. To be fair, Ian has not done a bad job. Think of it as Passion Play/Warchild/Minstrel era Tull meets Roots to Branches.
By the way, Fray Bentos pies rule!
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on 5 April 2012
It was always going to be a challenge for ian anderson to surpass the excellent thick as a brick album from `72, but he does a fine job on this follow up, although it doesn`t flow like the original, the songs are strong, just wish it was a jethro tull album with martin barre.
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