9. IAN ANDERSON - THICK AS A BRICK 2
Tull fans around the world uttered a near simultaneous gasp of apprehension and joy when Ian Anderson announced that he was to record a sequel to the classic concept album, Thick As A Brick. The idea, whilst sound, was undeniably risky. What if the album was a stinker? What if it tarnished the heritage of an all time classic concept album? The thought was pretty damn unbearable...
Well, thankfully THICK AS A BRICK 2: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GERALD BOSTOCK was a triumph.
While this isn't a Tull album in the purist sense, it certainly sounds a lot like it. Aside from the iconic flute flourishes, musical genres are adopted and abandoned at the flick of a well drilled key change, while Ian's tremendously recognisable voice hasn't really changed in 40 years.The album's greatest success, though, is that it DOES feel like a sequel to Thick As A Brick. The characters and themes are given a modern world setting along with a slightly more modern musical twist.
If you're a Tull novice, you're not going to want to jump in here. This is an album for people who have lived with Gerald Bostock's exploits for 40 years and it's only part of a story. It's not a perfect album by any means. As with any progressive album, you have to invest a certain amount of yourself into the listening experience. Like the original, it's not an album that you can really dive into the middle of; the songs make sense as a whole but independently they can seem a little detached, and perhaps a little difficult to digest. As a result it's difficult to pinpoint any real defining highlights - all you need to know is that the album as a whole works, and it works very well. In fact, perhaps the greatest praise that one can heap upon TAAB2 is that it could have been released when Tull were at their absolute peak and it would have been accepted gladly by their fans.
KEY TRACKS: A Change Of Horses, Kismet In Suburbia, Pebbles Instrumental/Might-Have-Beens
(On a side note, TAAB2 is amongst the best produced albums of the year. It's crisp and clean but warm and organic. It feels like an album that was produced for vinyl, rather than for the the digital age. As a result you really do get the various nuances of light and shade, where space is as important as noise. Modern records - especially rock records - seem to lack the subtlety of pre-digital era productions. The loudness war is a real issue these days, and producers need to work a lot harder to remember that there's more to making a great rock record than maxing out those dials for extreme dynamic compression. Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson worked on TAAB2 along with engineer Mike Downs and mastering engineer Peter Mew, and they deserve a standing ovation for their stellar work).
|1. From A Pebble Thrown||All songs by Ian Anderson||3:05|
|2. Pebbles Instrumental / Might Have Beens||4:21|
|3. Upper Sixth Loan Shark / Banker Bets Banker Wins||5:41|
|4. Swing It Far||3:28|
|5. Adrift And Dumbfounded||4:25|
|6. Old School Song||3:07|
|7. Wootton Bassett Town||3:44|
|8. Power And Spirit / Give Till It Hurts||3:11|
|9. Cosy Corner / Shunt And Shuffle||3:37|
|10. A Change Of Horses||8:04|
|12. Kismet In Suburbia||4:17|
|13. What Ifs, Maybes and Might Have Beens||3:36|
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