Jethro Tull

Roots to Branches

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    5
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This mid-'90s Tull studio album has its good moments, mostly shadows of earlier work. All of the songs here have more of a mood of urgency than some of Tull's then-recent albums, and a few even have memorable melodies -- the title tune, "At Last, Forever" (which sounds like a Thick as a Brick outtake), "Rare and Precious Chain," "Dangerous Veils," and "Valley," which recall the best moments of Ian Anderson's mid-'70s work. There are also attempts to revive the band's one-time fixation on jazz influences (the opening of "Wounded, Old and Treacherous"), although this sort of thing came off better on This Was. Anderson's flute occasionally takes flight, Martin Barre's guitar still wails on the breaks, and Doane Perry (drums), Dave Pegg (bass), and Steve Bailey (bass) make up a decent rhythm section. Not nearly as strong as Catfish Rising, but better than anything else since Heavy Horses.

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