The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world




APRIL 14 2014



Revisiting your past isn’t always easy and to be honest it often outs you on a hiding to nothing with people sniping about cashing in and critics of course levelling the twin barrels of ‘not as good as the original’ and ‘lack of originality’ at you. Thankfully a few years back Ian Anderson decided to ignore the hot air and revisit the classic Jethro Tull ‘Thick as a Brick’ with ‘Thick as a Brick II’ which of course won critical acclaim in the form of a ‘Hard Rock’ Grammy much to the chagrin of Metallica. This year Anderson is back in the same territory with his imaginary accomplice Gerald Bostock to give us ‘Homo Erraticus’ which is essentially of course his discourse on ‘Migration’


Anderson and Tull are of course a taste that some will never acquire; steeped in ‘Progressive Rock’, of the type that actually walked the earth in the 1970’s. Armed with only clever lyrics and a flute what surprises you most of all in 2014 is how strangely engaging it all is: like meeting an alien at the supermarket check-out.


You get the whole kitchen sink on here musically as you might well have hoped for: from the raucous ‘Doggerland’ all floating flute and crunchy guitar, to the gentler strains of the folky dulcimer-plucking ‘Heavy Metals’. In-between those and the climatic ‘Cold Dead Reckoning’ there’s the flute and keys of ‘Enter the Uninvited’ that lyrically recounts the influx of migrants to over the ages to your world. ‘Puer Ferox Adventus’ opens with a meandering vocal over thunder and groaning keys before a gentle lilting voice is gradually underscored by a wailing guitar and more expansive keys. It’s a beautiful construct that has a real sway and a force beneath the lush lilting folkly refrain.


Elsewhere ‘Meliora Sequamur’ floats n organ and acoustic guitar; while ‘The Turnpike Inn’ recalls vintage Tull, all flailing guitar, flute and drums: it’s one of our highlights of what turns out to be a compelling journey. ‘Tripudium Ad Bellum’ (dancing towards war) is another song that opens the mind, starting so simply and building to bursting. This is the sort of space where Anderson excels like an expert onion-skin-peeler.


Other highpoints (if we have to prise them out of what really should be listened to with a good set of headphones from start to finish) include the almost folk funk (!) of ‘New Blood, Old Veins’ if only for its boldness; ‘The Browning of Green’ which sounds like 70’s Tull; ‘Per Errationes Ad Astra’ the unhinged mad monologue; and the apocalyptic drum-led march of closer ‘Cold Dead Reckoning’ which paints humankind in a rather ark light. Anderson may sound pessimistic here but really can anyone with open eyes this day and age blame him?


In the end this is a wonderful and engaging album of Progressive Folk that sees, once again, Anderson as Electric Minstrel presiding over an ‘experience’ rather than just a collection of songs. Broaden your mind and take this one in, you’ll be surprised where music like this can take you.  



by Mark Diggins