1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The 80s Tull sound not up to standard...
, 16 April 2012
This review is from: The Broadsword and the Beast (ccd 1380) (Audio CD)
"Broadsword and the Beast" is an 80s album with an 80s sound that Jethro Tull were literally forced to embark on. Even the stage show changed with cheesy rigging on tall ship masts and massive boat settings. Of course it didn't work and Anderson cheerfully refers to this Tull period as the 'Spinal Tap' stage show. In the liner notes he is also quick to add that the band were replacing intricate compositions into short choppy pieces with neat straight on time sigs. He mentions how the synths dominated the 80s and the band had to follow suit in order to be contemporary. Tons of synths haunt the album as usual for the 80s but the flute hovers over all to ensure that trademark Tull sound is maintained.
When I bought this I was drawn into the iconic cover art and it looked like this would be a classic heavy guitar album, but of course the very opposite is the case. Martin Barre's guitars are overshadowed by all the synthesizers and 80s effects and it is disappointing. One thing that really throws me on this album is that none of the songs measure up to any of the classic Tull tunes in fact I couldn't pick a single song that deserved to go on a Tull compilation, unless 'Beastie' could be squeezed on, perhaps the album's best song.
The remastered Cd is worth grabbing though as for a change the actual bonus tracks are excellent and way better than the album material. There is about an album's worth of bonus tracks and they are heavier and more compelling than anything on "Broadsword". For instance the guitar heavy 'Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow' is a killer track and this is followed by the excellent 'Jack-A-Lynn'. 'Too Many Too' has a catchy hook but there is a brilliant sound on 'Overhang' that captivates. Other bonus gems include the classy 'I'm Your Gun' and a nice melodic closer with 'Down At The End Of Your Road'.
So after the disappointment of the album proper, the bonus tracks jarred me back to life and made me happy that I actually bought the Cd. So I am in a quandary here. I am supposed to be reviewing the album but end up reviewing the bonus tracks which are worthy of 4 stars by themselves. I will have to settle for 3 stars as this album is nowhere to the standard of the Tull I have been used to over the years.
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