Picks and Pans Review: The Broadsword and the Beast
What this British band lacks in innovation, it makes up for in tenacity. While wave after wave of rock fads has crashed ashore, Tull has plodded on, often anachronistic, occasionally refreshing, for 14 years. The group's heart and throb, flutist/guitarist/lyricist/vocalist Ian Anderson, though now 34, still seems like an electrified Middle Ages minstrel, jolting old English folk music back to life. His songs evoke medieval enchantment, and when he confronts the modern age, he usually throws up his hands and shouts, as he does in Clasp, "In high-rise city canyons dwells the discontent of ages/On ring roads, nose to bumper, crawl commuters in their cages." Solutions? In his dour-but-listenable Fallen on Hard Times, he bellows: "Oh, dear Prime Minister—it's all such a mess/Go right ahead and pull the rotten tooth." Producer Paul Samwell-Smith, hired to oversee this album, has kept the 10 tunes under control and introduced synthesizer sounds that put iron into Tull's too often anemic style.
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