You might know this weird dude as the lead singer of the almighty, flute-rocking 70’s band Jethro Tull, which rocked my other-lead-instrument-than-guitar-seeking mind and universe. Besides being the first artist to introduce the flute to rock and still look bad-ass while soloing the shit outta that bitch, he has always expressed a colorful, eccentric and playful personality which, obviously, is heavily impregnated into his music. You could often see him apprearing on stage as a jester, a knight or a Medieval prostitute (OK, not sure about that, but you get the drift). To put it all in perspective, think about this: in that grotesquely haired chests, leather trousers wearing era of music (aka the 70’s) he was the weird one. That’s something.
Forty years later, he still kicks a serious amount of ass on Thick As A Brick 2. This album is the sequel to Jethro Tull’s 1972 classic Thick As A Brick, which depicts the life of fictitious schoolboy Gerald Bostock (the lyrics were credited to him), whose parents supposedly lied about his age. So what might be Gerald, aged 50, up to now?
TAAB2, while not as deep or groundbreaking as its predecessor, is still a mesmerizing conglomerate of possible indentities, paths or choices that Gerard would have taken throughtout his life, making room for multiple twists and turns, depending on your choice as a listener. It doesn’t offer us a clear answer (which would have been a drag, really), but lets us use our imagination. The album as a whole is a charming, witty and heartbreaking insight on life, with its hard decisions and consequences, ups and downs, cheers and sorrows. Ever thought how your life would have turned out if you didn’t reach to pinch that hot waitress’s ass? Maybe you wouldn’t have had that ugly scar across your face. How about that time when, as a kid, you used to shoot cats with BB guns? Well, ok, good for you, I fucking hate cats.
But lets stick to what’s really important here : the flute. Although many bands followed their example afterwards and started taking this sheep-controlling instrument more seriously , I still can’t get past the oddity of a rock band using it. Anyway, he mastered it. He’s the shaman, the priest, the warlock, the God of Flute. Pan would throw away his pipes and take flute lessons after seeing Ian performing.
Even if the flute gets the spotlight for most of the time, TAAB2 is still a progressive rock album at its core. The songs are very well glued together, complex and intricate. Overshadowed by the flute as they might be, the guitars still sound pretty bad ass and the drumming is top notch. Because Ian’s voice is not as good as it was in his youth, he turned to a more mellow, low tone pitched delivery and, frankly, that’s a good thing; it blends very well with the album, and it proves that Ian is the kind of artist that is very aware of his limits and writes his songs accordingly. He hasn’t turned soft, if that’s what you’re thinking, nor has his music suffered a decline in quality – it’s just a tad different from what he used to do and it suits him well.
TAAB2 is, to put it briefly, a great album and a good start for those of you who seek something different from what you’re usually pleasing your earsones with. Flutes are awesome, man!