Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick
Like "Aqualung" this is a concept album. The cover is the classic news-paper cover, with the title of the album, "Thick As A Brick", being the headline. The story, shortened, is that Gerald "Little Milton" has won The Literary Competition". He reads the poem aloud on tv, and in the interview following that, he says the word g-r. That gets him disqualified.

That's the story surrounding the album. The actual lyrics for the song(s) is the poem itself. Being written and recorded back in 1972, it's obvious why it isn't one long number. Technically that wasn't possible at the time, with the good old LP's. So 2 songs on this album with a length almost 23 and 22 minutes it's very hard to get through.

But what is the music like on this album? It starts off slow, but a good 3 minutes in all hell breaks loose. With keyboard, Cool bass lines and nice electric guitars. Time and rhythm changes are the keywords for this album. It's hard sometimes to find the red thread in this massive composition, but I think that bands succeeds. Some of the melodies keep coming up again and again, so it's not one massive input of different melodies. It's that as well, but never too much in my humble opinion.

After a good 10-12 minutes with a lot of progressive keyboards and guitars, loads of time changes, the mood and the tempo slows down again, and turns mainly acoustic. And in the end it just gets weird. Strange way to "end" a number. It's very hard to describe. Listen to it. The whole thing kind of fades out. The second tracks starts slowly where the last track ended, and very quickly picks up pace. It goes into one of the main melodies in the song, and we get to hear what the "new" drummer Barrimore Barlow is made of. A very talented drummer, if you ask me. Great technique. And that goes for the entire album. After the drum solo, it's some kind of weird surreal mixture of noises, and again the boys goes acoustic. With the main riff backing them up, they sing in a new melody.

It moves on to be very melancholic and moody. Martin Barre takes out what sounds to be a lute, and the melodies makes you think of some of the songs from "Benefit". The same melody turns electric, but it doesn't works as well as it did acoustic. After a while with this, the song again takes another turn, and a new melody and riff is introduced. Again the drumming sounds cool. The flute being played here sounds awesome, in one of the better breaks this album has to offer. This is about 14 minutes into the song. The song, stays in this tempo for a while with lots of breaks and small solos from nearly everyone. Suddenly out of nowhere, the song breaks into one of the riffs used on the first track. About 20 minutes into the song, and very close to the end, we get a break with strings. Not used much on this album I must say. Quietly goes into to the main riff and the song is ended with only an acoustic guitar and Ian Anderson.

To sum up this album is very hard. It's has alot, and it may be hard for the new Tull fan to listen to this album. A brilliant album, but yet it seems to lack something that I can't quite put my finger on. Lack is perhaps the wrong word. Because it has so much. Maybe too much. All the melodies and time changes are cool, but maybe overdone in some places.

Ian Andersons vocals sounds a bit strange on this album. It sounds like he's singing most of it out through his nose. Not his best vocal performance. The flute is also put a bit more in the background. It's there, but definitely not as much as on previous albums, and that is a shame. It's gives the music a cool sound. The organ and piano is in there alright. Alot actually. A bit too much, but okay, it doesn't sound really stupid, and it fits perfect into these two tracks.

One of the main reasons why this can not get masterpiece written all over it, is the length of the numbers. In a way it should be a plus. A very cool idea to make one continuous number, but it gets a bit to much. I don't think that the melodies are strong enough the carry two tracks of 22 minutes each. But a brave project I must say. If you purchase this, see if you can find the original LP version of it. It should contain a newspaper with stories from St. Cleve. The 25 anniversary edition, CD that is, also contains this newspaper. Hours of interesting reading.

Written by Ulrick
Friday, August 23, 2002
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Ulrick: 8.5/10

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Profile pictureDark Lord

Rating: 8.5/10
Not my favorite Jethro Tull album; but a great one.... · Read more ·

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Comment by jader trombelli (Anonymous) - Friday, April 30, 2004
great Review! i love jethro tull!

Review by Dark Lord (Member) - Saturday, August 22, 2009
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Comments: 33
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Not my favorite Jethro Tull album; but a great one.

Rating: 8.5/10

Posted by Dark Lord
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Review by Ulrick

Released by
Chrysalis Records - 1972

1. Thick As A Brick
2. Thick As A Brick

Progressive Rock

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