Jethro Tull

J-Tull Dot Com

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With 1995's Roots to Branches, Jethro Tull signed a sixth lease on life by absorbing the ethnic sounds of India and the Middle and Far East. Ian Anderson was camouflaging his failing voice with fluting that was better than ever and with songs that suited his singing range. Jethro Tull follows up Roots to Branches with J-Tull Dot Com, a title that advertises both the band's new website and Anderson's newfound Internet prowess. The band has made a career of blending rock with jazz, blues, classical, and folk, and it would seem that the globetrotting Roots to Branches, along with Anderson's solo album from the same year, Divinities: Twelve Dances With God, would point to a full-time obsession with world music. But now the band abandons some of the world sounds in favor of songs that are more straightforward and lacking in variety, and unlike Roots to Branches, J-Tull Dot Com fails to excite with the first listen. While not as memorable as the previous effort, the album still delivers standard Jethro Tull: Anderson's flute, Martin Barre's crunchy guitar, and the wide-reaching keys of Andrew Giddings support Ian's ever-weakening voice, which he imposes onto every song. Once again Tull's capable hard rock is alternately ornamented, twiddly, and heavy-handed, so after repeated listens Tull fans should be satisfied.

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