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Pop - Released April 20, 2018 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released April 14, 2003 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released October 25, 2013 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released November 5, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released April 2, 2012 | Parlophone UK

Some 40 years after the release of Jethro Tull's prog landmark Thick as a Brick, chief Tull Ian Anderson crafts a sequel. Sensibly titled Thick as a Brick 2, this 2012 set brings us up to speed with the life of Gerald Bostock, who was a mere lad of 10 at the time of TAAB but is now an adult shouldering a myriad of responsibilities. His disappointments and mild triumphs make him a different man than he was, yet underneath it all he's still that recognizable child, and the same can be said for Anderson's music: it's cleaner and streamlined, not as indulgent or idealistic as his younger work, boasting a more sensible structure, yet it still bears all of his signatures from the flute to rambling folk-rock. To criticize TAAB2 for not having a clear hook to pull you inside is unfair: Anderson is assuming a familiarity with his work, so he's giving himself time to write around the point, taking diversions wherever he finds them, sometimes in the form of eight-minute mini-suites, sometimes in the form of brief two-minute interludes. TAAB2 doesn't sound contemporary but it doesn't sound classic either -- it sounds caught between the two eras, as if it was recorded in 1990. That may turn off some listeners, but they're the kind who wouldn't spend any time with an Anderson album anyway. Those diehards who are still curious after all these years will find Thick as a Brick 2 an effective, if not quite compelling, sequel to a beloved classic. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released October 14, 2002 | Parlophone UK

Minstrel in the Gallery was Tull's most artistically successful and elaborately produced album since Thick as a Brick and harked back to that album with the inclusion of a 17-minute extended piece ("Baker Street Muse"). Although English folk elements abound, this is really a hard rock showcase on a par with -- and perhaps even more aggressive than -- anything on Aqualung. The title track is a superb showcase for the group, freely mixing folk melodies, lilting flute passages, and archaic, pre-Elizabethan feel, and the fiercest electric rock in the group's history -- parts of it do recall phrases from A Passion Play, but all of it is more successful than anything on War Child. Martin Barre's attack on the guitar is as ferocious as anything in the band's history, and John Evan's organ matches him amp for amp, while Barriemore Barlow and Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond hold things together in a furious performance. Anderson's flair for drama and melody come to the fore in "Cold Wind to Valhalla," and "Requiem" is the loveliest acoustic number in Tull's repertory, featuring nothing but Anderson's singing and acoustic guitar, Hammond-Hammond's bass, and a small string orchestra backing them. "Nothing at All" isn't far behind for sheer, unabashed beauty, but "Black Satin Dancer" is a little too cacophonous for its own good. "Baker Street Muse" recalls Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, not only in its structure but a few passages; at slightly under 17 minutes, it's a tad more manageable than either of its conceptual predecessors, and it has all of their virtues, freely overlapping hard rock and folk material, classical arrangements (some of the most tasteful string playing on a Tull recording), surprising tempo shifts, and complex stream-of-consciousness lyrics (some of which clearly veer into self-parody) into a compelling whole. ~ Bruce Eder