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on 23 April 2014
A life-long JT fan, I approached this (and indeed the last) CD with caution. The first thing one can't help to notice, though, is the quality of the whole package: production values are exemplary in all categories! The care and attention to detail puts many other new CDs to shame. Is the music any good? Yes, it's excellent. Is it as good as TAAB1 or Aqualung? Of course not. After repeated listenings I don't find this recording as loveable as TAAB2, but you can't deny it's good music. Ian never had the voice of a rock vocalist and he was never bothered about catchy choruses (although he managed some over the years), but in the studio he still does a pretty decent job as a singer. Anyone who criticises that the music is nothing new misses the point: This album deliberately quotes previous JT tunes and obviously refers back to the glory days of prog rock. The lyrical concept is breathtaking and the complexity of the musical arrangements is familiar and - to my mind still - unrivalled in contemporary rock music. He broke fans' hearts by ditching Martin on guitar, but give the man some respect: His vision for his music is still impressive. Enjoy, there may never be anything comparable again!
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on 6 September 2016
Great album based on the movement of meandering man and the history of Britain. Only Ian Anderson in the song 'The Engineer' could get away with including the lyrics 'Four foot eight and a half' when referring to the Standard gauge of the Railway lines in this country.
Packaging and presentation is of a very high quality indeed, pretty much what you would expect from Ian Anderson.
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on 6 September 2017
interesting production. I love Andersons music and of course Tull's productions. This CD is also very good music and sounds a bit of Tull's "old days" .
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on 21 September 2017
Just fine, no problems. Cheers.
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on 9 July 2014
What can you say? It's Ian Anderson and better than he's been for a while. I like it, but there is nothing greatly new here in terms of music. The lyrics are good and interesting, which sets it apart from most of the stuff churned out these days. Good on you Ian.
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on 29 September 2014
Excellent, Ian is still making fresh sounding music.
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on 20 April 2014
I think the following observations might be a criticism of my deteriorating musical ears however, like TAAB2 before, i have found it difficult to maintain my concentration when listening to Home Erraticus. Yes the music is of the highest quality and I.A. continues to write insightful and playful lyrics. However after 6 attempts to 'internalise' the music i am left with the emotion of 'nodding approval but unlikely to play the the album again anytime soon'.

Other reviewers have noted some strong melodic motifs and memorable flute solos however, for me, i've heard it all before. Thinking back to the last substantial Tull album 'Roots To Branches'...some 20 years later the songs are etched into my memory. The Eastern flavour of the album lent itself to strong rhythmic patterns therefore felt very much a 'band' album. Maybe I.A. needs an equal partner that can reign in certain excesses...two heads are maybe better than one!

Despite my reservation we should celebrate the continuing idiosyncrasies of I.A. and cherish not only past glories but his continuance in presenting music that still challenges.
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on 19 April 2014
So what's the verdict on 'Homo Erraticus', the ambitious, bold and eagerly awaited new concept album from Ian Anderson and his band? This is a difficult album for a Jethro Tull fan to review with any objectivity, as its release coincides with the formal announcement that Jethro Tull as a band (as opposed to a repertoire of music) is no more. Of course, we all knew that from the relative lack of new activity over the past ten years. It became clear in the late 1990s that Ian Anderson was starting to save his best new songwriting material for his solo albums. The other band members must have known then, or at least suspected, that the game was up. Still, it is sad to have it formally confirmed. Tull had survived longer than most of their peer group from the late 1960s, and the world of popular music will mourn their passing as a cohesive unit.

Against this background, there will inevitably be a temptation to benchmark this new solo venture from Anderson against Tull's best work from the past. This sets the bar very high indeed. Is 'Homo Erraticus' as inspired and brilliant as 'Thick as a Brick' or 'Passion Play'? Of course not. Does this really matter? No - it is surely enough that Anderson still has the energy and creativity to even consider making a full-blown concept album at the age of 66. That it happens to be a very good one is an added bonus.

The most striking thing about 'Homo Erraticus' is that it is clearly a Jethro Tull album in all but name - much more so than any of Anderson's previous solo ventures. In fact, it is probably the best Tull album that could possibly be made without the involvement of the incomparable Martin Barre. It is sad that Martin is no longer a member of the band, but there is no doubt that this is a bona fide album from the Tull repertoire, with the authentic, unique progressive rock sound that characterised the group's best work of the 1970s. Compared to Thick as a Brick 2, the album presents a harder-rocking, more intricately woven sound. In this sense, it is more like 'Roots to Branches' than any of Anderson's previous solo albums. The band really swings and sounds far more spontaneous than on TAAB 2. The musical arrangements are also more richly ornamented, the sound production vastly superior. (This album really does deserve to be heard on a good Hi-Fi system.) There is more musical detail, and the ideas are generally fresher and full of surprise. It is an album that repays repeated listening, as there is far too much to take in on a first hearing. The melodic lines are also intriguing - you're unlikely to be humming them after a first listen, but they hook you in and you want to start listening to the album again as soon as it's finished. This is the hallmark of all great Tull music.

After reading some critical reviews here on Amazon, I approached this album with relatively low expectations of Ian Anderson's voice, but I was pleasantly surprised. He is on good form throughout, despite the fact that some of the material is lyrically very challenging.

On balance, 'Homo Erraticus' probably deserves a 5 star rating. Musically, it is the most powerful and dynamic album Anderson has made since 'Roots to Branches', whilst the grandeur and ambition of its concept and lyrical ideas actually surpass that album and are much closer in spirit to TAAB and Passion Play. If I have awarded it 4 stars rather than 5, it is because some of the songs seem a bit weighed down by the wordiness of Anderson's lyrics. This has been a problem on a number of his recent CDs, starting with 'The Secret Language of Birds' in 2000. It is not that the lyrics are obtuse; the issue is that they don't always sit well on the musical line, giving rise to a sense of over-crowding in the vocal delivery. (Joni Mitchell's songwriting often suffers from a similar problem.) I would like to give Ian some friendly advice. This band really knows how to rock. Allow them to stretch out and extemporise. You don't need to be singing all the time. The lyrics are, of course, supremely literate, as we have come to expect of Anderson. But it would do no harm for him to give his voice a rest occasionally and the band more space. The instrumental passages are superb and offer some of the best moments on the album, indeed (in the case of the stupendous 'Tripudium ad Bellum'), some of the best moments in the entire Tull catalogue.

Minor quibbles aside, 'Homo Erraticus' is solid testament to Ian Anderson's enduring genius as a musician and composer, after an amazing forty seven years in the music business. The flow of melodic invention continues unabated, like a mountain stream from an unknown infinite source, truly astounding for someone who has been writing and playing music continuously for over four decades. No-one else has such a total command of the sonic possibilities of rock music, qualities which can - in the right hands - give it a truly orchestral character, capable of expressing profound ideas and emotions. In essence, this is a suite of songs cleverly linked by common lyrical and musical themes, rather than a collection of individual songs, a point some of the one-line, one-star reviews posted on Amazon to drag down the overall rating seem to have missed. I think Jethro Tull fans are really going to like this album, and I'm looking forward to hearing it performed live in London in late May.

Postscript: 'Homo Erraticus' is every bit as impressive in live performance as it is on record. As for the album itself, it is challenging initially, but continues to get better with each fresh listen. A late classic from the underrated wandering minstrel of British popular music.
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on 29 April 2014
Over 35 years, I have purchased and listened in depth to over 50 Tull CDs, and this music has in consequence been a background to a very major part of my life. It is no easy matter therefore to pop a new Ian Anderson CD into the player and listen with fresh, innocent and objective ears !
The cover, booklet and general presentation all looked excellent and raised high hopes, and on reading the words Ian's superlative poetry once again was apparent. (no other lyrics, or indeed poetry, come close, in my opinion).
Firstly, I decided to have a look at the DVD, and felt that it all looked a bit staid - everyone looked old (who am I to speak) - where was the Ian of Stormwatch and Songs from the Wood - but there again, hair never made the man. I then listened with analytically critical ears to the CD. Was the recording up to my expectations? How do the new instrumentalists compare? Is the music too reminiscent of too much that has gone before? Could some tracks have been developed a bit more? Were some tracks a bit 'samey'?
. . . but nevertheless, I have been unable to stop playing this new album, and the more I do, the more moments of sheer Tull pleasure I have discovered. Maybe it is not as new and radical as I might have wished, but then, do I really want that?
The first track 'Doggerland' (great title) starts off a lot like Roots to Branches, but in the chorus section has strong feelings of tracks from Stormwatch and Heavy Horses (two all time favourites). Puer Ferox Adventus is super classic Tull, as is 'The Browning of the Green' and 'Cold Dead Reckoning'. - I can never get enough! Gradually, after all the analysis and criticisms, having now played the album over and over again in the car, I have accepted it for what it is . . .and I love it !
. . .it is full of typical Tullishness, and confirms Ian's continuing genius as a composer and lyricist. I always feel that it is the union of his words and music that creates an indefinable and inexpressible magic, which is much to be desired, and rarely attained.
. . .thank you Ian.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 April 2014
In his 67th year, Ian Anderson stubbornly refuses to rest on his laurels and bask in past glories. `Homo Erraticus' is a remarkable piece of work: original, lyrical, thoughtful, musically sophisticated with excellent sound and production values, a storyboard weaving together many narrative strands to entertain and delight.

The first impression you'll receive from the CD/DVD package is that a great deal of thought and care has gone into this project: a quality, classy product greets you which respects the audience's intelligence and likely aesthetic sensibilities. The 32-page insert containing explanatory essays and all the song lyrics artistically laid out in sequence is a minor literary masterpiece on its own, and takes a good hour to read through and digest. The album tells a themed story of human colonization of the British Isles (which began, according to archaeological records, 800,000 years ago). Anderson begins in `Doggerland' with the continental land bridge at the end of the last ice age; the narrative then skips over the bronze and iron ages to `Enter the Uninvited' which quickly runs through all the influences which came in from outside:

"Angles, Saxons, Danes and Normans
On the whole a curve of learning,
...Willie Conker, work cut out, in Domesday pages marks our number...
Sheep and pigs amongst the hundreds,
Fat tithes and taxes to encumber"

All the way to:

"Bubble gum and google-bum, Facebook-frenzied social network
Apple mac and i-Phone App, Gibson,
Fender sonic fretwork..."

The music underpinning this poetic lyrical narrative is as unique and engaging as we have come to expect from Anderson in his more mature years. Supported by the capable professional musical talents of John O'Hara, David Goodier, Florian Opahle, Ryan O'Donnell and Scott Hammond, mixed by Jakko Jakszyk and produced by Anderson himself the result is a seamless amalgam of catchy melodies, syncopated jazz rhythms, driving rock sections and odd time-signatures interwoven with trad English folk-idioms and references to other world-music styles. The result however is much greater than the parts, a unified style like no other: this is music for thinking people.

Anderson's lyrical writing has always been good but now occupies a territory rare in popular music: it stands as poetry which may be simply read aloud, communicates complex ideas with great economy of language, is clever and witty. Delivered over the music, the result is a rewarding and satisfying experience, joyous in a way that only good art can be.

The DVD includes the whole album accompanied by imagery and poetic lyrical insets; the music in 24/48 stereo and in DTS 5.1 Surround; and a thoughtful filmed interview with Anderson on the making of the album where he reveals:

"Writing songs for me is a terror...rather than waiting for the muse to turn up, you sometimes have to go out on a blind date and meet it halfway..."

and:

"What the album is all about is people going places, learning from the experience, evaluating something that you didn't know about before and benefiting - hopefully - as a consequence"

Exploring the possibility of imminent environmental catastrophe ("The Browning of the Green"), `Homo Erraticus' is ultimately optimistic about the ability of we humans to find a way out, to avert disaster, maybe even discover a new Eden.

This is such a refreshing change from the pap which passes for popular music these days; the maturity and intelligence of `Homo Erraticus' may outlast even the best of Jethro Tull's glory years. If you like your music to be crafted for thinking people, give it a listen - or two. Chance is you'll get to like it.
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