Ian Anderson, the guru and master musician behind Jethro Tull, had a good thing going. Ian would play the pied piper with his flute, dance about and dangle a leg while his band ambled through snatches of convoluted but impressive jazz/rock jamming.
Jethro Tull, which had begun life modestly as a group specializing in fluted pop with some classical pizazz, became instead a didactic warhorse, the vehicle for Ian’s obtuse sermons, a launching pad for ambitious messes of noodling like last year’s A Passion Play.
Such stuff didn’t sell well. Even avid fans found A Passion Play boring. To recoup his losses, Anderson has now returned with War Child, an LP of relatively brief songs, some of them within the four minute mark.
Each handcrafted track comes chock-full of schmaltz, strings, tootie-fruitti sound effects and flute toots to boot, not to mention Anderson’s warbling lyricism.
British audiences have long had the good taste to avoid such pablum. Hopefully American listeners, hipped by A Passion Play, will follow suit. Remember: Tull rhymes with dull.